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Full text of "The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources, 1745-1799; prepared under the direction of the United States George Washington Bicentennial Commission and published by authority of Congress"

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(Enll^g? nf 5Itb*ral Arts 


0*22, ^32, 


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in 2010 with funding from 

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3TF1A -I A/ 1 


From the Houdon Bust, modeled from life at Mount Vernon in 1785. Here reproduced by 
permission of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association of the Union 




from the 

Original Manuscript Sources 

Prepared under the direction of the United States 

George Washington Bicentennial Commission 

and published by authority of Congress 

John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor 

Volume 6 

September, 1776 - January, 1777 

United States 

Government Printing Office 



\ 1 ti <i «-. VV^V ** ^* *"*"■ "^ I ^ ** <ta»*» 

JUNE, 1932 


^, U 


President of the United States 

Vice President of the United States 
Speaker of the House of Representatives 

United States Senate 

SlMEON D. Fess, Vice Chairman 

Arthur Capper 

Carter Glass 

Millard E. Tydings 


House of Representatives 

Willis C. Hawley 

John Q. Tilson 

Joseph W. Byrns 

R.Walton Moore 

Presidential Commissioners 

Mrs. Anthony Wayne Cook 

Mrs. John Dickinson Sherman 

Henry Ford 


George Eastman * 
New York 

Executive Committee 

The Senate and House 

C. Bascom Slemp 
Mrs. Anthony Wayne Cook 
Joseph Scott 

C. Bascom Slemp 

Wallace McCamant 

Albert Bushnell Hart 


Joseph Scott 

Prof. Albert Bushnell Hart 

Associate Directors 
Representative Sol Bloom 

Executive Secretary 
William Tyler Page 




Dr. J. Franklin Jameson, Chairman 

Chair of American History and Chief of Manuscripts Division 

Library of Congress 

Professor Randolph G. Adams 

Librarian William L. Clements Library 

University of Michigan 

President J. A. C. Chandler 

William and Mary College 

Dr. Tyler Dennett 

Editor, United States Department of State 

Dr. Charles Moore 
Chairman United States Commission of Fine Arts 

George W. Ochs-Oakes, Esq.* 
Editor, New York Times 

Brigadier General John M. Palmer 
United States Army, Retired 

Victor H. Paltsits 

Chief of Manuscript Department 
New York Public Library 

* Deceased. 





To Major General William Heath, September 1 . . 1 

Garrison at Mount Washington — Intelligence wanted of the enemy's 
plans and movements — Need of horses and teams. 

Impress warrant to Major General William Heath, Sep- 
tember 1 2 

To the New York Legislature, September 1 . . . . 2 

Purchase and removal of cattle from Manhattan and Long Islands — 
Posts at Kings Bridge. 

General Orders, September 1 n 3 

To the President of Congress, September 2 . 4 

Distressing situation — Desertion of the militia — Evils of depending 
on the militia — Bounties of money and land to secure recruits — Ought 
New York to be preserved ? 

General Orders, September 2 7 

General Orders, September 3 8 

To Brigadier General Hugh Mercer, September 3 . 9 

Order to build a fort in Jersey opposite Mount Washington. 

To Major General Philip Schuyler, September 4 . . 10 

Losses at skirmish on Long Island — Short-term enlistments — News 
from Canada — Need of boards. 

To Colonel Fisher Gay, September 4 12 

Failure to make returns — Discipline. 

To Lieutenant Colonel Henry Beekman Livingston, 

September 4 14 

His duty on Long Island. 

To the President of Congress, September 4 . . . . 14 

Militia returning home — British ships gone up the Hudson — News 
of Burgoyne — Post office — Lack of returns and cartridge paper. 

General Orders, September 4 16 

To Brigadier General Hugh Mercer, September 5 . 17 

His troops opposite Mount Washington — Diversion on Staten Island. 

General Orders, September 5 18 




To Major General William Heath, September 5 . . 18 

Need of intelligence of enemy's movements — Lookouts. 

To Major General William Heath, September 6 . . 19 

Plan of action — Wishes to see Heath, Mifflin, and Clinton. 

To the Committee of Safety of New York, Septem- 
ber 6 .. . 20 

Their report on ordering out militia. 

To Governor Jonathan Trumbull, September 6 . . . 20 

The Battle of Long Island. 

To Sir William Howe, September 6 22 

Exchange of Sullivan and Stirling. 

To the President of Congress, September 6 . 22 

The city to be preserved — Movements of the enemy — Officers in the 
hands of the British — Pay of the militia — Troops from the south. 

General Orders, September 6 24 

General Orders, September 7 25 

To the President of Congress, September 7 . 26 

Pay for escaped navy officers. 

To the President of Congress, September 8 . . . . 27 

A council of officers — Intentions of the enemy — War should be de- 
fensive — Importance of New York — Council decides town not tena- 
ble — Various opinions — Difficulties of a retreating army — Militia's 
impulse for going home. 

To Brigadier General Hugh Mercer, September 8 . . 33 

Mercer's illness — Reenforcements for Forts Washington and Lee. 

To Major General William Heath, September 8 . . 34 

Orders blocking the roads above Kings Bridge. 

To Brigadier General James Clinton, September 8 . . 34 

Call for Ulster and Orange militia. 

To the New York Legislature, September 8 . . . . 35 

Removal of bells — Need of militia. 

To the New York Legislature, September 8 . . . . 35 

Removal of sick — Need of Albany sloops. 

General Orders, September 8 36 

General Orders, September 9 37 

To Richard, Lord Howe, September 9 38 

Doctor Franklin's letter. 



To Governor Jonathan Trumbull, September 9 . . . 38 

Defection of Long Island inhabitants — Militia rendezvous — Con- 
necticut naval force on Long Island Sound. 

General Orders, September 10 40 

General Orders, September 11 42 

To Brigadier General Hugh Mercer, September 11 . 43 

Defense at Kings Bridge — Need of wagons. 

To the President of Congress, September 11 . ... 44 

Howe's peace move through Sullivan — Movements of British — 
Evacuation arrangements. 

To Robert Morris, September 12 46 

Tents wanted. 

To Major General Philip Schuyler, September 12 . 47 

Gates's supplies — Hostile Indians — Need of boards. 

To Brigadier General James Clinton, September 12 47 

Stores at Forts Montgomery and Constitution — His request for ord- 

To the New York Legislature, September 12 48 

Reenforcements for the Highlands — Vessels to remove sick — Stores 
needed at Forts Montgomery and Constitution. 

General Orders, September 12 . . 49 

General Orders, September 13 . 50 

To Major General William Heath, September 13 . 52 

Impressment of teams — Strength of brigades sent — Need of vessels 
to remove sick. 

To the President of Congress, September 14 ... 53 

Impossible to hold New York — New council of war advises evacua- 
tion — Expected attack — British ships gone up the East River — Pay of 
nurses — Removal of sick. 

General Orders, September 14 55 

General Orders, September 16 56 

To the President of Congress, September 16 ... 57 

Movement of the enemy — Panic at Kips Bay — Retreat to Harlem 
Heights — Loss of baggage and heavy cannon — Hopes for success. 

To Major General William Heath, September 17 . . 59 

Troops ordered to Powles Hook. 



To Governor Nicholas Cooke, September 17 60 

Retreat from New York — Safety of Rhode Island — Expedition to 
Long Island — Matters to be considered — Keeping the States informed — 
Panic at Kips Bay — A successful skirmish with the enemy — Sees no 
cause to abandon Rhode Island and Newport. 

General Orders, September 17 64 

To Major General William Heath, September 18 . 66 

Disapproves bombardment of Montresors Island — Care of the sick — 
Posting of troops. 

To the President of Congress, September 18 . . . . 67 

No general attack — Skirmish at Harlem Plains — Death of Major 
Knowlton — Need of tents, blankets, etc. 

To Colonel John Glover, September 18 70 

Lack of tents — Hut building. 

General Orders, September 18 . . 70 

General Orders, September 19 72 

To the President of Congress, September 19 ... . 73 

Preparations of British. 

To Sir William Howe, September 19 74 

Exchange of Sullivan and Stirling. 

To the officer commanding Massachusetts Militia, Sep- 
tember 19 74 

Hastening march of militia. 

To the Massachusetts Legislature, September 19 . . 75 

Battle and retreat from Long Island — Evacuation of New York 
City — Skirmish of Harlem Plains — Militia reenforcements. 

General Orders, September 20 78 

To Major General Philip Schuyler, September 20 . 81 

111 effects of short enlistments — Evacuation of New York City — Skir- 
mish at Harlem Plains. 

To the New York Legislature, September 20 . . . 83 

Requests fire ships. 

To the President of Congress, September 20 ... 84 

Activity of the enemy — Formation of the new army — Clothes — 
Militia lacking in every requisite. 

To Joseph Trumbull, September 21 86 

Wine for hospital. 



General Orders, September 21 87 

General Orders, September 22 88 

To the President of Congress, September 22 ... . 91 

Need of amending Articles of War in respect to plundering, etc., by 

To the President of Congress, September 22 ... . 92 

Burning of New York. 

To John Augustine Washington, September 22 . . . 93 

Battle and retreat from Long Island — Retreat from New York — Kips 
Bay affair — Skirmish at Harlem Plains — Worthlessness of militia. 

To Governor Jonathan Trumbull, September 23 97 

Exchange of Lord Stirling and James Lovell — Evacuation of New 
York — Skirmish at Harlem Plains — Burning of New York. 

To Sir William Howe, September 23 100 

Exchange of Sullivan, Stirling, and Lovell — Treatment of British 
officers — Musket-ball contrivance. 

To the New York Legislature, September 23 . . . 102 

Skirmish at Harlem Plains. 

General Orders, September 23 102 

General Orders, September 24 103 

To the President of Congress, September 24 . . 105 

Evacuation of Powles Hook — Discharge of Connecticut Militia. 

To the President of Congress, September 24 . . 106 

The eve of a dissolution of the army — Greater encouragement needed 
to obtain recruits for the new — Higher pay to officers and men — Char- 
acter of officers — Bounties proposed of money, land, and clothes — 
Impolicy of depending on militia — Character of temporary troops — 
Expense of them — Fear of a standing army — The selection of sur- 
geons — Many now are great rascals — Rules for the government of the 
army — Punishments — Plundering of private property — Conduct of an 
officer — There must be a change in the military system. 

To the President of Congress, September 25 ... . 116 

Exchange negotiations — Need of commissaries — Tents, kettles, 
blankets, etc., badly needed. 

General Orders, September 25 118 

General Orders, September 26 119 

To Brigadier General Hugh Mercer, September 26 . 120 

Probable movement of the British — Need of all intelligence possible. 






To Major General William Heath, September 26 

Cartridges for General Saltonstall. 

To Governor Jonathan Trumbull, September 26 

Discharge of militia — Deserters — Exchange of prisoners. 

To Major General Philip Schuyler, September 27 

Nails — Barracks — British force in Canada. 

To the President of Congress, September 27 . 

Committee at headquarters — British force in Canada. 

General Orders, September 27 124 

General Orders, September 28 125 

To the President of Congress, September 28 . . . 127 

Capt. Daniel Morgan. 

To Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell, Septem- 
ber 29 129 

List of prisoners needed. 

To the Massachusetts Legislature, September 29 . . 129 

Forwarding prisoners for exchange. 

To Deputy Governor William Bradford, September 29 . 130 

List of prisoners — Forwarding prisoners for exchange. 

General Orders, September 29 131 

General Orders, September 30 133 

To the President of Congress, September 30 . . . . 134 

Lieutenant Colonel Shepard's promotion. 

To the Board of War, September 30 135 


To Governor Jonathan Trumbull, September 30 . 135 

British activity on Long Island. 

To Lund Washington, September 30 136 

Conduct of Congress — Dependence on militia and results — His own 
situation — Directions for work at Mount Vernon — Exchange of Her- 
bert's brother. 

To Major General Philip Schuyler, September 30 . . 140 

Thinks Congress meant no offense — Boards. 

To Major General Benjamin Lincoln, September 30 . 141 

Expedition against Long Island. 



To Brigadier General George Clinton, September 30 . 141 

Expedition against Long Island. 

To Governor Jonathan Trumbull, October 1 142 

Connecticut row galleys in the Hudson — Petition of loyalist pris- 
oner suspects. 

General Orders, October 1 144 

General Orders, October 2 . 147 

To the President of Congress, October 2 148 

British raising recruits and obtaining provisions on Long Island — Ex- 
pedition across the Sound proposed — Disaffection in Westchester and 
Dutchess Counties — Recruiting from the Flying Camp — Ammunition 
for New Hampshire Militia — Information from deserters. 

General Orders, October 3 151 

General Orders, October 4 152 

To the President of Congress, October 4 152 

The committee from Congress — The army on the eve of its political 
dissolution — Fay of officers and men — Bounties and clothes — Pay and 
character of officers — No time for experiments — Difficulties of com- 
pleting the new arrangement — Error in method of selecting officers. 

General Orders, October 4 157 

To the President of Congress, October 5 157 

The McCumber court-martial — Difficulties in exchange of officers — 
Exchange of Canadian prisoners — Filling vacancies — Plan for corps of 
engineers — Obstructing Hudson River — Promotion disputes. 

To Brigadier General James Clinton, October 5 . 162 

Butter seized — Intrenching tools. 

To Governor William Livingston, October 5 163 

Exchange of prisoners taken on Long Island. 

To Governor Patrick Henry, October 5 163 

Congratulations — Recent military events — Troops dispirited — Skir- 
mish of Harlem Plains — Evils of short enlistments and dependence on 
militia — Need of permanent establishment — Character of officers. 

To Samuel Washington, October 5 168 

Indians on Virginia frontier — Pendleton's purchase — Militia service — 
Strength of army — Evacuation of New York — Skirmish of Harlem 

General Orders, October 5 171 

General Orders, October 6 172 

To Sir William Howe, October 6 172 

Exchange of Stirling and Lovell — Disclaims responsibility in ex- 
change agreement between Arnold and Captain Forster. 



To Comte D'Emery, October 7 173 

Release of Dechambault. 

To the President of Congress, October 7 174 

Release of Dechambault — Penet's request for appointment — The 
French gentlemen's expectations. 

To the President of Congress, October 7 176 

Doctor Skinner's request. 

To Major General Benjamin Lincoln, October 7 176 

Breaking up communication with British by way of Long Island 

General Orders, October 7 177 

General Orders, October 8 178 

To Governor Jonathan Trumbull, October 8 . . . 180 

List of prisoners in Connecticut — Exchange — Punishment of desert- 
ers — Officers. 

To the President of Congress, October 8 182 

Expenses of States for prisoners — Should mechanics be exchanged? — 
The new army — Exchange of Lord Stirling — Intelligence — Decision 
in McCumber case — Passage of British ships up the river. 

To Joseph Trumbull, October 8 185 

Ration issues to sick. 

To Major General William Heath, October 9 . . . 186 

Nomination of officers. 

To Governor Jonathan Trumbull, October 9 . . . 187 

Suggestions for promotions — Choice of paymasters — The new 
army — Commissaries — Rank of officers taken by the enemy on Long 
Island — Obstructions in the river. 

General Orders, October 9 190 

General Orders, October 10 . 191 

To Major General Philip Schuyler, October 10 . 192 

Indian chiefs — British advance down the lakes — Enemy's ships gone 
up the Hudson. 

General Orders, October 11 194 

To the President of Congress, October 11-13 . 196 

British capture boats in the Hudson — Massachusetts Militia ordered 
forward — British movements. 

To Major General William Heath, October 11 . . . 198 

British movements up the North and East Rivers. 



Instructions for Colonel Edward Hand, October 1 1 . . 198 


To Major General Philip Schuyler, October 11 ... 199 

Lack of nails — Sod huts. 

To Governor Nicholas Cooke, October 12 ... . 200 

Arrangement of officers — Character needed — Appointments. 

General Orders, October 12 202 

General Orders, October 13 . . 202 

To Colonel Thomas Tash, October 13 ....... 204 

New Hampshire troops ordered to Fishkill. 

To Major General Artemas Ward, October 13 . . . 205 

Settlement of arms purchasing accounts — Navigation of the Hudson 
blocked by British ships. 

General Orders, October 14 206 

General Orders, October 15 207 

To Governor Jonathan Trumbull, October 15 . 208 

Plots and conspiracies in New York — Intention of the British — De- 
fense of the Hudson Highland passes. 

To Governor Jonathan Trumbull, October 16 . . . 210 

Position of British ships — Proposed attack on those near Frogs Point. 

To Lieutenant Colonel Jacob Bayley, October 17 . 212 

Payment for cutting a road from Coos to St. Johns. 

To Governor Nicholas Cooke, October 17 ... 213 

Countermand of marching orders — The Long Island expedition — 
List of Rhode Island officers. 

To the New York Legislature, October 17 ... . 214 

Captain Imbert to fortify Highland passes. 

General Orders, October 17 214 

General Orders, October 18 216 

To the President of Congress, October 18 . 216 

Penet's brevet appointment — Passage of British ships up Long Island 

To Joseph Trumbull, October 20 217 

Flour and pork supply — Need of accumulating supplies — Points of 



To Colonel William Mcintosh, October 21 . . . 219 

Ordering him forward to Byram River. 

To Joseph Trumbull, October 21 220 

Need of flour and beef — Magazines — Intentions of British. 

To Major Zebdiel Rogers, October 21 221 

Orders to oppose the British. 

General Orders, October 21 221 

Memorandum, October 22 222 

Letter to Governor Trumbull. 

To Mrs. Frederick Philipse, October 22 222 

Permission to retain necessary stock. 

To Major General Philip Schuyler, October 22 . 223 

Destruction of Arnold's fleet — Small value of militia — Defense of 
Ticonderoga — Suggestions. 

General Orders, October 23 225 

General Orders, October 24 226 

General Orders, October 25 228 

General Orders, October 26 229 

General Orders, October 27 230 

General Orders, October 29 232 

General Orders, October 30 232 

General Orders, October 31 233 

To the Legislature of Massachusetts, October . . . 235 

Penobscot Indians. 

General Orders, November 1 236 

General Orders, November 2 238 

General Orders, November 3 . 238 

To Doctor William Shippen, Junior, November 3 . 239 

Establishment of hospitals — Return of recovered men to the army. 

General Orders, November 4 240 

General Orders, November 5 241 

To John Augustine Washington, November 6-19 . . 242 

The campaign — Retreat of army to New Jersey — Loss of Fort Wash- 
ington — States slow in forwarding troops — Perplexities — Failure to 
raise another army — The situation. 



To the Massachusetts Legislature, November 6 . . 247 

Dissolution of army — Council of war — Call for militia. 

To the President of Congress, November 6 .... 248 

Sudden movement of the enemy — Council of war — Probable inten- 
tions of the British — The approaching dissolution of the army — Fort 
Washington — Force sent into Jersey. 

To the Commissioners of Arrangement from Pennsyl- 
vania, November 6 251 

Delay in recruiting orders — Appointment of officers. 

General Orders, November 6 . 252 

General Orders, November 7 . 253 

To Major General Nathanael Greene, November 7 . 253 

Retreat of British — Fort Washington — Rendezvous of troops in 
Jersey — Wagons and stores. 

To Governor William Livingston, November 7 . . . 255 

Enemy gone to Kings Bridge — Urgent call for more troops — Re- 
moval of stock and supplies near the water — Bridsh ravages. 

To the Board of War, November 8 257 

Monsieur Lantagniac. 

To Major General Nathanael Greene, November 8 . 257 

Inefficacy of river obstructions — Doubt as to holding Mount Wash- 
ington — Enemy's intention to penetrate New Jersey — Removal of 

General Orders, November 8 . . 259 

To Sir William Howe, November 9 . 259 

Return of Major Stewart's servant — Delay in effecting the exchange 
of prisoners — Charge of confinement of Bridsh officers in common 
gaols — Stragglers. 

To the President of Congress, November 9 . . . . 261 

News from the north — Move of army to New Jersey. 

General Orders, November 9 262 

General Orders, November 10 . 262 

To Major General Charles Lee, November 10 . . . 263 

Instructions for his guidance. 

To Colonel Henry Knox, November 10 266 

Artillery and ordnance arrangements. 

To Brigadier General Thomas Mifflin, November 10 . 267 

Care of tents and tools — Uncertainty of British designs. 



To Joseph Trumbull, November 10 268 

Provision magazines — Movement of troops. 

To Ezekiel Cheever, November 10 269 

Care of arms — Repairs — Cartridge making. 

To Governor Jonathan Trumbull, November 10 270 

Commissioners to arrange .officers and recruit men — Evils of an 
additional State bounty — Equality of pay necessary. 

To the President of Congress, November 11 .... 271 

Officers for recruiting — Militia about to retire from service — Move- 
ments and intentions of the two armies — Advance pay voted by Massa- 
chusetts and Connecticut — Its fatal tendency. 

To Major General Charles Lee, November 12 . . . 274 

New army — Recruiting — Security of stores. 

To Major General William Heath, November 12 . . 275 


To Major General Charles Lee, November 14 . . . 278 

Exchange of prisoners — Lists of killed, wounded, and prisoners. 

To the President of Congress, November 14 . . . 279 

Passage of the river by troops — Movements and designs of the en- 
emy — Major Stewart's servant — Necessity of field artillery; of engi- 
neers — The case of Commissary General Trumbull — Exchange of 

To the Board of War, November 15 283 

Flags of truce for women going into New York. 

To the Board of War, November 15 284 

Major Stewart's servant. 

To the President of Congress, November 16 . . . . 284 

The affair at Fort Washington. 

To the New York Legislature, November 16 . . . 287 

Enlistment regulations — The new army — Appointment of officers — 
Capture of Fort Washington. 

To Major General Charles Lee, November 16 . . . 289 

Resolutions of Congress respecting the recruiting of the new army — 
Attack upon and surrender of Fort Washington — Securing the pass 
through the Highlands. 

To Governor Jonathan Trumbull, November 17 . . 291 

Capture of Fort Washington. 

To Lieutenant Colonel William Palfrey, November 18 . 291 

Drawing of warrants. 

To John Augustine Washington, November 19 . . . 292 



To the President of Congress, November 19-21 . . . 292 

The British loss at Fort Washington — Fort Lee becomes of no im- 
portance — Removal of stores — Weakness of army — Distress of Amer- 
ican prisoners in New York — Money for the paymaster general — 
Capture of Fort Lee — Retreat into Jersey. 

To Colonel Samuel John Atlee, November 21 . . 297 

His exchange. 

To Major General Charles Lee, November 21 . . . 297 

Landing of the British at Dobbs Ferry and capture of Fort Lee — 
Action in matter of Rhode Island officers approved — Orders Lee to cross 
the river into Jersey — Reasons. 

To Governor William Livingston, November 21 301 

Movements of the army. 

To the President of Congress, November 23 . 303 

Expiration of enlistment of Flying Camp troops — Mifflin sent to 
explain situation — Lee ordered into New Jersey — Pay for Flying Camp. 

To Governor William Livingston, November 23 . 304 

Sends Colonel Reed to explain critical situation. 

To Major General Charles Lee, November 24 . . 305 

Loss of the mail — Necessity of guarding the passes of the High- 
lands — Route of march suggested for Lee. 

To Major General Charles Lee, November 24 . . 306 

Letters intercepted by British; warns against being surprised on his 

To Colonel David Forman, November 24 .... 307 

Reported Tory insurrection in Monmouth County — Removal of stock. 

To Colonel Samuel Miles, November 25 308 

His exchange. 

To Major General Charles Lee, November 27 . 309 

Weakness of his army — Purpose of the enemy — Want of clothing. 

To the President of Congress, November 27 . 309 

Exchange of Governor Franklin — Movements of British — Exchange 
of prisoners. 

To Major General William Heath, November 29 310 

Retreat through Jersey — Handling of Tories — Reenforcements. 

To Major General Charles Lee, November 29 . . . 311 

His call for militia— rBounties for recruits. 

To Governor William Livingston, November 30 . 312 

Prospects of militia reenforcements — Interception of deserters — 
Thanks for sympathy. 



To Colonel Joseph Reed, November 30 313 

General Lee's letter to Reed. 

To the President of Congress, November 30 ... . 314 

Militia from Philadelphia — The retreat to Brunswick — Flying Camp 
service expired — Advance of the enemy — Guarding ferries. 

To the Board of War, November 30 316 

The stores of the Hancock and Adams — Impropriety of enlisting 
prisoners of war. 

To Major General Charles Lee, December 1 . . . . 318 

Weakness of the army — Urges his speedy arrival. 

To the President of Congress, December 1 . . . . 318 

British at Bonum Town — Reenforcements needed — Exchange of 
officers — Collecting boats in the Delaware. 

To Governor William Livingston, December 1 . . . 320 

Advance of the British — Weakness of Washington's force — Indif- 
ference of Morris and Sussex militia — Need of reenforcements — Secur- 
ing of boats in the Delaware. 

To the President of Congress, December 1 . . . . 321 

Cannonade at Brunswick — Intention to retreat to west bank of the 

To Sir William Howe, December 1 322 

Exchange of prisoners. 

To the President of Congress, December 2 .... 323 

Arrival at Princeton — Orders to General Lee — Guards for Highland 

To Captain Nicholas Dietrich, Baron de Ottendorff, 

December 2 324 

Authorization to enlist Germans. 

To Sir William Howe, December 3 324 

Exchange of officers. 

To the President of Congress, December 3 .... 324 

Arrival at Trenton — Position of the British — No word from Lee — 
Reenforcements expected. 

To Major General Charles Lee, December 3 . . . . 326 

Urges him to hurry — Heath's troops to be left in the Highlands. 

To the Board of War, December 5 326 

Sending in British prisoners on exchange — Irregularity and danger 
of the method — Sick sent to Philadelphia. 

To the President of Congress, December 4 . . . . 328 

Position of General Lee — Embarkation of British at New York — 
Strength of Sir Henry Clinton's force. 



Memorandum for Colonel Richard Humpton, Decem- 
ber 5 3 2 9 

Intelligence of Lee's march desired — Regiments from Ticonderoga — 
New Jersey Militia. 

To Richard Dallam, December 5 330 

Removal of treasury office. 

To the President of Congress, December 5 . . . . 330 

Protection of New Jersey — Slowness of militia reenforcements — 
Disadvantages of short enlistments — No impropriety of depending on 
militia — Necessity for a larger standing army — British at Brunswick. 

To the President of Congress, December 6 . . . . 333 

To set out for Princeton — Howe's proclamation — Governor Frank- 
lin's exchange. 

To Colonel John Cadwalader, December 7 . . . . 334 

Station at Trenton — Troops under his orders. 

To Major General William Heath, December 7 . 335 

Orders him into Jersey to cover the country. 

To the President of Congress, December 8 . . . . 335 

The British design of flanking Princeton — No certain intelligence of 
Lee — His slow march can not be accounted for. 

To Brigadier General William Maxwell, December 8 . 337 

All boats on the Delaware to be secured — Guards for ferries. 

To the Pennsylvania Council of Safety, December 9 338 

Bucks County militia needed at Trenton. 

To the President of Congress, December 9 . . . . 338 

The Delaware crossed — British seeking a ferry — Safety of Philadel- 
phia — Fortifying the city. 

To Major General Charles Lee, December 10 340 

Need of his assistance — Urges on his march — Position of British — 
Jersey Militia to be brought on. 

To the President of Congress, December 10 ... 342 

British position — Lee at Morristown — British repairing bridges. 

General Orders, December 10 . 343 

To the Pennsylvania Council of Safety, December 10 . 344 

Galleys in the Delaware — Collection of boats — Billingsport ferry — 
Fortifying Philadelphia. 

To Lund Washington, December 10-17 345 

The situation — Prevention of British crossing the Delaware — Short 
enlistments and militia — Capture of Lee — Speedy enlistment of the 
new army the only hope. 



To Colonel John Cadwalader, December n .... 347 

Guard for Dunks Ferry. 

To Major General Charles Lee, December 11 . 348 

British object is Philadelphia — Urgent need of Lee's troops. 

To Brigadier General William Thompson, Decem- 
ber 11 . 348 

Asks for list of paroled officers. 

To the President of Congress, December 11 .... 349 

The enemy at Bordentown — Intelligence by a prisoner — Enemy 
without boats — General Lee's delay — Value of Sheldon's volunteer 

To Governor Jonathan Trumbull, December 12 . . 351 

Movements of the British — Disaffection in New Jersey — Reenforce- 
ments from Philadelphia — The new army — New England regiments 
to march to the Highlands. 

To the President of Congress, December 12 ... 353 

Impolicy of publishing resolve against leaving Philadelphia — Intel- 
ligence — Means of preventing the British advance inadequate — Pay- 
ment of officers. 

To Major General William Heath, December 12 357 

Reinforcements — Troops from the north — Critical situation. 

To Brigadier General Philemon Dickinson, Decem- 
ber 12 358 

Position of his troops — Orders for his guidance. 

To Sir William Howe, December 12 359 

Exchange of officers — Treatment of Wuibert. 

To Brigadier General James Ewing, December 12 . 360 

Orders for his guidance — Need of intelligence. 

To Doctor William Shippen, Junior, December 12 . 361 

Doctor Morgan's hospital stores. 

To Colonel John Cadwalader, December 12 362 

Orders for his guidance. 

To the President of Congress, December 13 ... 363 

Removal of the army to Trenton Falls — Position of the brigades, 
Flying Camp, and militia — Armstrong to recruit. 

To Governor Jonathan Trumbull, December 14 . . 365 

Position of the armies — The situation to the eastward — Need of Lee's 
troops — Arnold ordered to New London — Lack of public spirit and 
virtue of the people — Necessity for a stroke upon the enemy. 



To Lord Stirling, December 14 367 

Orders to go to Lee, Gates, and Heath and arrange for forwarding 

To the General Officers, December 14 368 


To Major General Charles Lee, December 14 . . 370 

Surprise at the doubts of Lee — Boats at Tinicum Ferry — Fatal re- 
sults of the loss of Philadelphia. 

To Major General Horatio Gates, December 14 . 371 

The retreat through Jersey — Urges on his march — With united 
forces the enemy may be checked. 

To Major General William Heath, December 14 373 

Urging on his march. 

To Major General Joseph Spencer, December 14 . 373 

British Fleet off New London — Spencer to go to New England — 
Cooperation with Arnold. 

To Brigadier General Benedict Arnold, December 14 . 374 

British Fleet off New London — Arnold to go to New England — 
Cooperation with Spencer. 

To Robert Morris, December 14 375 

Saving the frigate Delaware. 

To Major General John Sullivan, December 15 . 375 

Capture of General Lee. 

To the Pennsylvania Council of Safety, December 15 . 376 

Capture of Lee — Disaffection in the country — Disarming proposed — 
Militia prospects — Appearance of enemy going into winter quarters. 

To the President of Congress, December 15 ... 378 

Unhappy fate of Lee — Movements of the enemy. 

To the President of Congress, December 16 ... 379 

The new army — Militia not to be depended on — Augmentation of 
battalions proposed — Nothing to be expected of Jersey — Clothing 
of the troops. 

To the Pennsylvania Council of Safety, December 16 . 381 

Clothing distribution — Pennsylvania Militia. 

To the New York Legislature, December 16 ... 382 

Arrangement of officers — Troops in the Highlands — Heath's orders. 

To Governor Jonathan Trumbull, December 16 . 384 

Money for Sheldon's recruiting. 



To Major General William Heath, December 16 385 

Ordering his return — Covering the country — Suggests attempt on 

To Colonel Elisha Sheldon, December 16 386 

Raising his regiment — Terms of enlistments, etc. — Pay. 

To Colonel Joseph Trumbull, December 16 . 388 

His visit to New England — Salt provisions — Virginians who might 
supply flour. 

To the Pennsylvania Council of Safety, December 17 . 390 

Movements of enemy — Removal of stores at Billingsport. 

To Colonel Robert Magaw, December 17 ... 390 

List of prisoners taken at Fort Washington. 

To Sir William Howe, December 17 390 

Exchange of prisoners — Lists. 

To Major General William Heath, December 17 391 

Nova Scotia Indians. 

To Lund Washington, December 17 392 

To Major General William Heath, December 18 . 392 

Massachusetts Militia to be sent forward — Guards for passes of the 
Highlands — Influence of enemy to defeat recruiting. 

To Major General Benjamin Lincoln, December 18 394 

His command of Massachusetts Militia — Orders. 

To the Massachusetts Legislature, December 18 . 394 

Use of the State Militia — The situation — Need of reenforcements — 
Capture of General Lee. 

To John Augustine Washington, December 18 . 396 

Movements of the two armies — Conduct of the Jersey inhabitants 
most infamous — Accursed policy of short enlistments and dependence 
on militia. 

To the Pennsylvania Council of Safety, December 19 . 399 

Bucks and Northampton militia — John Dickenson's note. 

To Colonel Joseph Kirkbride, December 19 . 400 

Ordering militia to march to Philadelphia. 

To the President of Congress, December 20 .... 400 

Corps of artillery and of engineers — Pay of artillerists inadequate — 
Need of greater powers in the Commander in Chief — No lust after 
power — Militia and short enlistments the origin of all our misfor- 
tunes — The new army — Officers to recruit — Plans for the campaign to 
be determined — Commissary of prisoners wanted — Evils and dangers 
of existing loose system — The commanding officers overburdened with 
work — General officers needed — Promotions — Colonel Knox — Needs 
of the army — Its movements — General Lincoln. 



To Carpenter Wharton, December 20 ..... 409 

Seizure of mills and grain. 

To Governor Jonathan Trumbull, December 21 409 

Refusal of troops to remain — Exchange of prisoners — Weak state 
of army. 

To Governor Nicholas Cooke, December 21 .... 412 

Loss of Rhode Island — Arnold and Spencer sent — Expectation of 
British push against Philadelphia. 

To the Massachusetts Legislature, December 21 . 413 

Distress of prisoners — Exchange. 

To Brigadier General William Maxwell, December 21 . 414 

Ordering him to Morristown — Vigilance — Handling of militia — 
Prevention of plundering — Recruiting. 

To Carpenter Wharton, December 21 416 

Formation of provision magazines. 

To Major General William Heath, December 21 . 417 

Troops from the east — Protection of Highlands — Rest of troops to 
come on at once. 

To Brigadier General Alexander McDougall, Decem- 
ber 21 . . 419 

Approval of McDougalPs orders — Resignation. 

To Robert Morris, December 22 420 

Urgent need of clothing — Small chance of saving Philadelphia — 
Small number of troops arriving — Millers' refusal to grind. 

To the Pennsylvania Council of Safety, December 22 . 421 

British ships in Delaware Bay — Collection of clothes and blankets 
for army — Lack of arms for militia — Melting away of army. 

To Lewis Gordon, December 22 423 

Call for Northampton militia. 

To the Colonels of Northampton Militia, December 22 . 424 

Ordering militia to march to Philadelphia. 

To the New Hampshire Legislature, December 22 . . 425 

Exchange of prisoners — Lists. 

To Major General Joseph Spencer, December 22 . . 426 

Failure of Pennsylvania Militia to turn out — Army dwindling 
away — Militia to be forwarded. 

To Colonel Samuel. Griffin, December 23 . . 428 

Permission to go to Philadelphia. 

To Colonel John Cadwalader, December 24 .... 429 

Ordering the attack on Trenton December 26. 



To Colonel Samuel Griffin, December 24 ... 429 

Evils of the Congress mode of appointing officers to the new army — 
Directions in the matter. 

To the Commanding Officer of the Massachusetts Mi- 
litia on Their March to Peekskill, December 24 . 431 

Urging on his march. 

To the President of Congress, December 24 .... 431 

Distresses — Refusals to reenlist — Weak state of army — Howe's in- 
tentions — Congress's mode of appointing officers — Need of money — 
Asks for his letter books. 

To the Passamaquoddy Chiefs, December 24 . . . 434 

Friendship — The Six Nations — Defeat of Cherokees. 

To the St. John's Indians, December 24 435 

Peace and friendship. 

To Robert Morris, December 25 436 

Blankets — Hopefulness — Defection in Jersey and Pennsylvania — Se- 
curity of Continental vessels in the Delaware — New England regi- 
ments as crews — British intentions. 

To Colonel John Cadwalader, December 25 .... 438 

Confidence in him — A diversion, if nothing more, advisable. 

To Major General Israel Putnam, December 25 . . . 438 

Defense of Philadelphia — Removal of stores — Pennsylvania Militia 
to go to Mount Holly. 

To Colonel John Cadwalader, December 25 . . . 440 

Attack on Trenton determined. 

To Robert Morris, December 27 441 

Victory at Trenton. 

To the President of Congress, December 27 441 

Victory at Trenton — Description of movement — Ewing and Cad- 
walader failed to get across the Delaware. 

To Major General William Heath, December 27 . . 444 

Victory at Trenton — Stores — Militia needed. 

To Colonel John Cadwalader, December 27 . . 445 

Failure of himself and Ewing to cross the Delaware — Victory at 
Trenton — Future plans. 

To Major General William Heath, December 28 . 447 

Retreat of the British — Troops now in Jersey — Militia reenforce- 
ments — Chance of driving British back. 

To Brigadier General Alexander McDougall, Decem- 
ber 28 448 

Return of army to Jersey — Encouragement of militia — Exchange of 
McDougall's son. 



To Brigadier General William Maxwell, December 28 . 449 

Return of army to Jersey — Orders to harass enemy — Victory at 

To Robert Morris, December 29 451 


To the President of Congress, December 29 .... 451 

Return of army to Jersey — Force now there — Retreat of the British — 
Prisoners taken — Money sent to Lee — Need of provisions. 

To the Pennsylvania Council of Safety, December 29 . 453 

Forwarding prisoners taken at Trenton. 

General Orders, December 29 453 

To Sir William Howe, December 29 454 

Letter for General Lee — British prisoners sent in before being listed. 

To Major General Charles Lee, December 29 . . . 455 

Forwards draft. 

To the Officer Commanding at Morristown, Decem- 
ber 30 455 

Agreement of New England regiments to stay six weeks — Bounty 
given — Hopes example will be followed — British evacuation of lower 

To Major Theodorick Bland or Officer Commanding 

Virginia Light Horse, December 30 ... 456 

Prisoners to be left under guard — His march to be hastened. 

To Robert Morris, December 30 . . . . . 457 

Need of hard money — Measures to improve the Trenton success. 

To Robert Morris, December 31 457 

Expired enlistments — Lack of money to hold troops. 

To Major General William Heath, December 31 . 458 

Eastern troops — Pay difficulties — Efforts to secure the arms, etc., 
of time-expired troops — Artillery recruiting — Distribution of plunder 
taken from enemy. 

To the Friends of America in the State of New Jersey, 

December 31 460 

Call for militia to embody. 


To the President of Congress, January 1 460 

Plenary powers — Army reenters Jersey. 



To Robert Morris, George Clymer,and George Walton, 

January i 463 

Hard money — Bounty to New England troops — Hessian prisoners — 
Plenary powers. 

To Major William De Hart, January 1 465 

Appointment of Colonel Newcomb) — Pay abstracts. 

General Orders, January 1 466 

To Robert Morris, January 5 466 

British evacuating Brunswick. 

To the President of Congress, January 5 467 

Battle of the Assunpink — Battle of Princeton — Effects. 

To Major General Israel Putnam, January 5 . 471 

Battles of the Assunpink and Princeton — Putnam to move to Cross- 

To Major General William Heath, January 5 472 

Battle of Princeton — Rendezvous at Morristown. 

To Doctor William Shippen, Junior, January 6 . 473 

Inoculation of troops against smallpox. 

To Robert Morris, George Clymer,and George Walton, 

January 7 474 

Casting of cannon. 

To Major General William Heath, January 7 . 475 

Feint against New York — Payment for arms lost — Regiment for 
Colonel Malcom. 

To Major General Benjamin Lincoln, January 7 . 476 

Feint against New York. 

To the President of Congress, January 7 477 

General Mercer's death — Skirmishes — Position at Morristown. 

To Lieutenant Colonel John H. Stone, January 8 478 

Collecting and recruiting his regiment — Nomination of officers. 

To Lieutenant Colonel Edward Antill, January 8 . . 479 

Recruiting his regiment. 

To Charles, Earl Cornwallis, January 8 480 

Supplies for Hessian prisoners — Guard for same. 

To the Pennsylvania Council of Safety, January 8 . . 481 

Supplies furnished — Success at Trenton and Princeton. 

To Colonel George Weedon, January 9 482 

Collecting and recruiting his regiment. 



To Major General William Heath, January 9 . . . 482 

Movements of the British. 

To Lieutenant Colonel George Baylor, January 9 . . 483 

Regiment of horse — Officers — Recruiting and equipment. 

To Lieutenant Gunning Bedford, Junior, January 9 485 

Command of the Delaware regiment. 

To Colonel Richard Gridley, January 9 485 

Boston fortifications. 

To Ebenezer Hancock, January 9 486 

State of his funds. 

To the President of Congress, January 9 486 

Colonel Baylor's regiment — British at Brunswick. 

To Lieutenant Colonel Robert Hanson Harrison, Jan- 
uary 9 487 

Maj. George Johnston's appointment as aide. 

To the Pennsylvania Council of Safety, January 10 . . 488 

Provision magazines in Bucks County. 

To Governor Jonathan Trumbull, January 10 . 488 

Pay for troops — Reenforcements — Trenton and Princeton — Retreat 
of enemy. 

To Richard Henry Lee, January 10 490 

Col. Thomas Hartley's appointment. 

To Lieutenant Colonel Robert Hanson Harrison, Jan- 
uary 10 491 

Recruiting in Virginia. 

To James Mease, January 10 492 

His appointment as Clothier General — Distress for clothing, etc. 

To Colonel John Patton, January 11 493 

His appointment. 

To Colonel David Forman, January 11 494 

Appointment to command a regiment. 

To Colonel Nathaniel Gist, January 11 494 


To Colonel William Grayson, January 11 .... 495 

Appointment — Recruiting. 

To Captain Francis Wade, January 11 496 

Impress of provisions. 




To Major General William Heath, January 12 . 

Feint against New York — Lady Johnson. 

To Colonel Thomas Hartley, January 12 498 

Recruiting orders. 

To Colonel Samuel Blatchley Webb, January 12 . . 499 


To Colonel Henry Jackson, January 12 499 


To the Selectmen of the Town of Boston, January 12 . 500 
To Colonel Joseph Reed, January 12 500 

His order an interference. 

To the President of Congress, January 12 .... 501 

Exchange of General Lee — Feint against New York. 

To Robert Morris, George Clymer,and George Walton, 

January 12 502 

British treatment of prisoners — Agents — Plot among prisoners at 

To the Pennsylvania Council of Safety, January 12 . . 504 

Enlistment of Hessians — Militia — Flour. 

To Colonel Henry Sherburne, January 12 ... 505 

Recruiting instructions. 


Houdon's bust of Washington .... Frontispiece 

Return of killed and missing in the Nine- 
teenth Continental Infantry, November 
23, 1776 Facing page 64 

Resolve of Congress, December n, 1776, 
which was suppressed by Washington . Facing page 248 

Invoice of blankets sent to the Army by 
Robert Morris just before the Battle of 
Trenton Facing page 362 

Resolves of Congress, December 27, 1776, 
conferring powers of a dictator on Wash- 
ington Facing page 460 



The following symbols have been used to denote the place of 
deposit of Washington letters not found in draft or letter-book 
form in the Washington Papers in the Library of Congress: 

Indicating that the letter is in Washington's 

own handwriting 


Chicago Historical Society 


Clements Library, University of Michigan 


Connecticut Historical Society 


Harvard College Library 


Haverford College 


Historical Society of Pennsylvania 


Huntington Library 


John Carter Brown Library, Rhode Island 


Maine Historical Society 


Maryland Historical Society 


Massachusetts Historical Society 


J. P. Morgan Library 


New Hampshire Historical Society | 


New York Historical Society | 


New York Public Library 


New York State Library 


Rhode Island Historical Society 


Rhode Island Society of the Cincinnati 


Society of the Cincinnati 


University of Chicago Library 


University of Pennsylvania Library 


Virginia Historical Society 


Virginia State Library 


[ xxxiii 




New York, September i, 1776. 

Sir: I received your favor of this date, and intend this eve- 
ning to go to Harlem and see whether the situation of things 
will admit of the several detachments and dispositions you 
mention, so that every place necessary to be maintained should 
have measures taken for their defence. I should suppose that 
Hutchinson's 1 regiment, and the 300 men you say are at Mount 
Washington, will do to garrison it for the present, and will be 
equal to any force that will be brought against it, if they keep 
a good look-out and do not suffer a surprise. This you must 
strongly press upon them to guard against. — 

As it is of great consequence to gain intelligence of the ene- 
my's designs, and of their intended operations, I cannot but 
recommend your attention to this subject, and that you will 
Concert some measures with General Clinton 2 for establish- 
ing a Channel of information.! I apprehend that his general 
acquaintance with most of the people in the colony will give 
him an opportunity of fixing upon suitable persons, and in 
whom a confidence may be reposed, to embark in this business, 
and who, from their connections on the island and the assist- 
ance of their friends there, might obtain frequent accounts that 
would be useful and of great advantage. Perhaps some might 

1 Col. Israel Hutchinson, of the Twenty-seventh Continental Infantry. 
2 Brig. Gen. George Clinton. 

8701 1 


be got who are really Tories, for a reasonable reward, to under- 
take it. Those who are friends would be preferable, if they 
could manage it as well. I will not add more upon the subject, 
but heartily wish you and General Clinton could fall upon 
some mode to carry into execution a Scheme of this sort. 

We are in extreme want here of a number of horses and teams 
to transport baggage &c, from place to place, and therefore have 
enclosed a warrant authorizing you, or any substituted by you 
to impress them. If they can be procured immediately by hir- 
ing it, it would be better; but if not, I beg you will take most 
early means to send them down by Impressing them, they 
must be had at all events. 

If there is a possibility of procuring Boats for Harlem river 
It shall be done. lam, etc. 3 [ms.h.s.] 


Head Quarters, New York, September i, 1776. 
Whereas It is necessary to have a Number of Horses and Teams to be 
employed in Transporting and Conveying from place to place the Bag- 
gage and Things appertaining to the Army of the United States and 
there is reason to apprehend that they cannot be readily procured for 
Hire. These are therefore to request and authorize you or any person 
under you to impress such a Number of them as you may Judge mate- 
rial and necessary for the purposes aforesaid, and them having Impressed 
you [are to] send [them] down to the City of New York to the Qr. 
Master Genl. 4 [ms.h.s.] 


New York, September 1, 1776. 
Sir: I was yesterday honored with your favor of that date, and 
should have Answered it by the Return of the Person who 
brought it; had I not been engaged then in a Multiplicity of 
business, which occasioned me to forget it, till he was gone. 

s In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 

4 The impress warrant to General Heath was written and signed by Harrison. 


In Respect to the Cattle on this Island, I shall desire the Com- 
missary to purchase as many of them from the Inhabitants, as he 
can conveniently and will afford every Assistance the Situation 
of Affairs will admit of, to have the remainder secured; but as 
to those on Long Island, It is impossible for me to take any 
Measures, or give any Assistance to prevent their falling into the 
Enemys hands. I am persuaded the Number of Rangers you 
mention, were they to exert themselves,might be of Service and 
annoy the foraging Parties of the Enemy not a little. But Sir, 
I cannot spare any Men for that purpose. Tho' our Force is 
Called in from the out Posts and Collected on this Island, yet 
it will not be more than Competent to the defence of the several 
Lines necessary to be maintained; nor is it perhaps by any 
means so great as common estimation and report make it. 

I am extremely obliged by your Opinion, on the defencible 
State of the Grounds above King's Bridge, tho' they had not 
escaped my Observation. Their Importance I am fully sensible 
of; and as far as the Critical situation of things will allow, their 
defence shall be attended to, to prevent if possible the Enemy 
from possessing them. I have the honor etc. 

P. S. As the Posts at Kings Bridge are of such great Impor- 
tance, I think it will be well and extremely necessary to be 
favored with your friendly exertions, in affording every Aid in 
your power for their defence. Cannot some more Militia be pre- 
vailed on to give their Assistance and in whom you can confide. 
I will not enlarge, being fully assured you will do all you can. 


Head Quarters, New York, September i, 1776. 

Parole Hartford. Countersign Boston. 

It being necessary there should be an Arrangement of the 
troops, in order that they may act with union and firmness — The 
Army, as brigaded yesterday, is now arranged in three Grand 


Divisions, under the following officers (Viz) Major Genl. Put- 
nam to command the following brigades — Parsons's, Clinton's, 
Scott's, Fellow's, Silliman's. 

The centre Divisions, under Genl. Spencer and Genl. Green 
the former to command the whole untill Genl. Green's recovery 
(Viz) Nixon's, McDougall's, Heard's, Wadsworth's, Doug- 
lass's, and Chester's. 

Genl. Heath's to consist of Genl. Mifflin's Brigade and Genl. 
George Clinton's. 

The centre Division to hold themselves in readiness to march 
immediately to Harlem to prevent the enemy's landing on 
this Island. 

Samuel Augustus Barker, to act as Major to the Brigade 
under Col Douglass; Benjamin Talmadge Brigade Major to 
Colo Chester. 

Col Haslett's 5 Regiment to march to join Genl. Mifflin, to 
whose Brigade he is to belong. 


New York, September 2, 1776. 

Sir: As my Intelligence of late has been rather unfavorable 
and would be received with anxiety and concern, peculiarly 
happy should I esteem myself, were it in my power at this 
Time, to transmit such Information to Congress, as would be 
more pleasing and agreeable to their wishes : But unfortunately 
for me, unfortunately for them, It is not. 

Our situation is truly distressing. The Check our Detach- 
ment sustained on the 27th. Ulto. has dispirited too great a 
proportion of our Troops and filled their minds with appre- 
hension and dispair. The Militia, instead of calling forth their 

6 Col. John Haslet, of the Delaware Regiment. He was killed at Princeton, N. J., 
Jan. 3, 1777. 

1776] MILITIA 5 

utmost efforts to a brave and manly opposition, in order to re- 
pair our Losses, are dismayed, Intractable and Impatient to 
return. Great numbers of them have gone off, in some instances 
almost by whole Regiments, by half ones and by Companies at 
a Time. This circumstance of itself, Independent of others, 
when fronted by a well appointed Enemy, superior in number 
to our whole collected force, would be sufficiently disagreeable, 
but when their example has Infected another part of the Army, 
When their want of discipline and refusal, of almost every kind 
of restraint and Government, have produced a like conduct but 
too common to the whole, and an entire disregard of that order 
and Subordination necessary to the well doing of an Army, and 
which had been inculcated before, as well as the nature of our 
Military establishment would admit of, our Condition is still 
more Alarming, and with the deepest concern I am obliged to 
confess my want of confidence, in the generality of the Troops. 
All these circumstances fully confirm the Opinion I ever enter- 
tained, and which I more than once in my letters took the Lib- 
erty of mentioning to Congress, That no dependence could be 
in a Militia or other Troops than those enlisted and embodied 
for a longer period than our regulations heretofore have pre- 
scribed. I am persuaded and as fully convinced, as I am of any 
one fact that has happened, that our Liberties must of necessity 
be greatly hazarded, If not entirely lost, If their defence is left 
to any but a permanent standing Army, I mean one to exist 
during the War. Nor would the expence incident to the sup- 
port of such a body of Troops as would be competent almost to 
every exigency, far exceed that which is daily incurred, by call- 
ing in Succour and new Inlistments, and which when effected 
are not attended with any good consequences. Men who have 
been free and subject to no controul, cannot be reduced to order 
in an Instant, and the Priviledges and exemptions they claim 


and will have, Influence the Conduct of others, and the aid 
derived from them is nearly counterbalanced by the disorder, 
irregularity and confusion they Occasion. I can not find that 
the Bounty of Ten Dollars is likely to produce the desired 
effect. When men can get double that sum to engage for a 
month or two in the Militia and that Militia frequently called 
out, — It can hardly be expected. The addition of Land might 
have a considerable Influence on a permanent Inlistment 6 Our 
number of men at present fit for duty are under 20,000. They 
were so by the last return and best accounts I could get, 
after the Engagement on Long Island, since which numbers 
have deserted. 

I have ordered General Mercer to send the men intended for 
the Flying Camp to this place, about a thousand in number and 
to try with the Militia, if practicable, to make a diversion upon 
Staten Island. Till of late I had no doubt in my own mind of 
defending this place, nor should I have yet, if the men would 
do their duty, but this I despair of. It is painful and extremely 
grating to me, to give such unfavourable Accounts, but it would 
be still more criminal to conceal the Truth at so critical a Junc- 
ture. Every power I possess shall be exerted to serve the Cause, 
and my first wish is, that whatever may be the event, the Con- 
gress will do me the Justice to think so. If we should be obliged 
to abandon the Town, ought it to stand as Winter Quarters 
for the Enemy ? They would derive great conveniences from it 
on the one hand, and much property would be destroyed on the 
other. It is an Important question, but will admit of but little 

"On September 16 it was resolved: "That Congress make provision, for granting 
lands, in the following proportions . . . such lands to be provided by the United 
States, and whatever expense shall be necessary to procure such land, the said expence 
shall be paid and borne by the states in the same proportion as the other expences of 
the war, viz. To a colonel 500 acres; to a lieutenant colonel, 450; to a major, 400; to a 
captain, 300; to a lieutenant, 200; to an ensign, 150; each non-commissioned officer 
and soldier, 100." 


time for deliberation. At present I dare say the Enemy mean to 
preserve it, if they can. If Congress therefore should resolve 
upon the destruction of it, the Resolution should be a profound 
secret, as the Knowledge of it will make a Capital change in 
their plans. 7 I have the Honor &ca. 8 


Head Quarters, New York, September 2, 1776. 

Parole Effingham. Countersign Putnam. 

The General hopes, after the inconveniences that have been 
complained of, and felt, that the commanding Officers of Corps 
will never, in future, suffer their men to have less than two 
days provisions, always upon hand, ready for any emergency — 
If hard Bread cannot be had, Flour must be drawn, and the 
men must bake it into bread, or use it otherwise in the most 
agreeable manner they can — They are to consider that all the 
last war in America, No Soldier (except those in Garrison) 
were ever furnished with bread ready baked, nor could they 
get Ovens on their march — The same must be done now. 

The brigades under Genl. Spencer, are still to keep them- 
selves in readiness to march at the shortest Notice; but in the 
meantime are to have Regimental and brigade parades assigned 
them, in case of an Alarm before they move — These parades 
not to interfere with any of those in Genl. Putnam's Division; 
to avoid which, the officers commanding them are to consult 

This letter was read in Congress September 3 ; at once considered in Committee of 
the Whole, and resolution adopted for reinforcing Washington with three battalions 
from Virginia, two from North Carolina and one from Rhode Island. The States 
north of Virginia were urged to send all the aid in their power to the army at New 
York. It was also resolved: "That General Washington be acquainted, that Congress 
would have special care taken, in case he should find it necessary to quit New York, 
that no damage be done to- the said city by his troops on their leaving it: The Con- 
gress having no doubt of being able to recover the same, though the enemy should, 
for a time, obtain possession of it." (See Journals of the Continental Congress.) 
"In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 


him, and each other, that they may be disposed of to the best 

When regiments march away in future, the officers are to see 
that the men take their tent-poles in their hands — All their Tin- 
Camp-Kettles, and see the Tents tied up carefully, and a suffi- 
cient guard left to take care of them. 

The Brigades of Genl. Putnam's Division, are to furnish 
fifty men, to attend at the Hospital, upon Dr. Morgan, to whom 
their Names are to be returned. 


Head Quarters, New York, September 3, 1776. 

Parole Vernon. Countersign Mifflin. 

The General most earnestly requests, that the several Briga- 
diers, and Commandants of Brigades, get their respective Corps 
in the best order as soon as possible and for this purpose they 
should join in Brigades as soon as can be, on a parade appointed 
for that purpose. 

The Brigade, Majors according to the new arrangement are 
to attend every day for orders while they stay in town if they 
should march to reinforce Genl. Mifflin's and McDougall's Bri- 
gades, they will fix upon one to come to Head Quarters every 
day for orders. 

Genl. Fellows's Brigade to furnish a Captain, two Subs, and 
fifty men, for Boat duty, 'till further orders, to parade at Head 
Quarters, and receive Orders at eight OClock, every morning. 

Some instances of infamous Cowardice, and some of scan- 
dalous Plunder, and Riot, having lately appeared, the General 
is resolved to bring the offenders to exemplary punishment — 
the Notion that seems too much to prevail of laying hold 
of property not under immediate care, or guard, is utterly 


destructive of all Honesty or good Order, and will prove the 
ruin of any Army, when it prevails. It is therefore hoped 
the Officers will exert themselves, to put a stop to it on all 
future occasions. If they do not, e'er long Death will be the 
portion of some of the offenders. 

The state of the Ammunition and Arms, should be a subject 
of constant attention to every officer. 

The General hopes the justice of the great cause in which 
they are engaged, the necessity and importance of defending 
this Country, preserving its Liberties, and warding off the de- 
struction meditated against it, will inspire every man with Firm- 
ness and Resolution, in time of action, which is now approach- 
ing — Ever remembring that upon the blessing of Heaven, and 
the bravery of the men, our Country only can be saved. 

The General orders a return of every regiment to be made 
immediately, and delivered to the Brigadier, or Commandant 
of the brigade, so that the Brigade Returns may be made at 
twelve O'clock to morrow. 

The near approach of the enemy, obliges the Guards to be 
doubled — the several Brigade Majors are immediately to settle 
the duty of their Brigades, according to their strenght — This is 
confined to Genl. Putnam's division. 


Capt. Hezekiah Holdridge of Col Wyllys's Regt. appointed 
to act as Major of said regiment, for the present. 


New York, September 3, 1776. 
Dear Sir: From the present complexion of our Affairs, It 
appears to me of the utmost Importance and that the most 
Salutary consequences may result, from our having a Strong 


Encampment at the post on the Jersey side of the North River, 9 
opposite to Mount Washington on this Island. I therefore 
think It adviseable and highly necessary, that you detach such 
a force from Amboy and Its dependencies, under the Com- 
mand of an Officer of note, Authority and influence, with a 
Skilful Engineer, to lay out such additional Works as may be 
Judged Essential and proper, and the Situation of the Ground 
will admit of, they should be begun and Carried on with all 
possible diligence and dispatch. 

It will be proper, that a considerable Quantity of provision 
should be collected for the Maintenance and support of the 
Camp, and for this purpose I wish you to have proper measures 
adopted to procure It and have it deposited there and at places 
of Security not far distant. 

As the Continental Officers now at this post will take rank 
and the command probably of any you may send, unless he 
should be a General Officer, I think and Wish if you have one 
that possibly can be spared and in whose Judgement, activity 
and fortitude you can rely, that he may be appointed to the 
command rather than an Officer of Inferior rank. I am &c — 


New York, September 4, 1776. 

Dear Sir: Your favors of the 29th. and 31st. Ulto. with their 
several Inclosures, have been duly received. 

I sincerely wish the event of the Skirmish on Long Island 
had been as favourable to us as reported to you. Hurried and 
Involved in a Multiplicity of Business, I cannot give you a par- 
ticular detail of It. I shall only add, that we lost in killed and 
wounded and prisoners from 700 to 1000 Men, among the 

9 Fort Lee, N. J. 


prisoners are General Sullivan and Lord Stirling. The Enemy's 
loss has not been ascertained yet, But there is reason to believe, 
from the continuance of the action and the heavy firings 
between them and Lord Stirling's Detachment, that it was 
considerable. We have been informed so by Deserters, they 
overpowered our people by their Numbers and constant rein- 

When I have an Opportunity and circumstances will admit, 
I will enquire after Lieut. Johnson 10 and order him to Albany. 

I am extremely obliged, by your Interposing to have the 
Boards sent down. I have informed the Quarter Master Gen- 
eral, and directed him, to take measures for obtaining a large 
supply, as I have grounds to apprehend many will be wanted. 

The short Inlistment of our Troops has been the Source of 
some of our misfortunes and of infinite trouble and difficulty 
already, and I am not without apprehension, that sooner or 
later, must prove of fatal consequence. I have wrote my senti- 
ments very fully to Congress upon this Subject two or three 
Times. In a late Letter, I have urged the Expediency of a per- 
manent Army during the War. The Necessity is too obvious to 
require Arguments to prove it. I think it will be adviseable 
to recruit out of the present Army as fast as possible; But I fear 
the progress will be but small. The bounties given by the dif- 
ferent States, to raise their Quotas of men for so short a time, 
must have a prenicious tendency. Many will refuse to inlist, as 
that allowed by Congress is so low, in hopes of exacting more. 

The Letters from our Officers in Canada, transmitted by 
General Gates, I have sent to Congress with the return you in- 
closed. I have also perused and delivered your Letter to the 
Commissary, having sealed it first, and wish matters to be so 
ordered as best to promote the Service. 

"Lieut. Martin Johnson, of Lamb's artillery. 


Observing that General Gates in his Letter to you, mentions 
his want of Cartridge paper for Musquets, I have wrote to Con- 
gress and requested them to supply it If possible, having none 
here or but very little, and have also directed the Quarter Mas- 
ter General to send up some Grind Stones, not knowing 
whether they can be had at Albany. I am &c. 

P. S. Your Letter preceding the two Last, came to hand when 
I was sending away my papers and being put up with them 
after a cursory reading, I dont recollect it sufficiently to answer. 

Being certain that we shall have occasion for a large Quan- 
tity of Boards for Barracks and Shelter for the Troops which 
will be posted at Kings bridge, in Its vicinity and over the River, 
opposite the Works erected at the upper end of this Island, 
I wish to be informed if they can be supplied and shall be 
glad those who undertake it will begin to hurry 'em down 
with all expedition, to the nearest Landing place to the Bridge. 


New York, September 4, 1776. 

Sir: Whether you do not get the General Orders, with that 
regularity which is to be wished, or whether (which is hard 
to suppose) you do not attend to them, I will not undertake to 
determine, But it is a Melancholy truth, that Returns essen- 
tially necessary for the Commanding Officer to Govern him- 
self by, and which might be made in an hour after they are 
called for, where care and Order are observed, are obtained 
with so much difficulty. 

Nor can I help regretting, that not only regular Returns, but 
that orders, in instances equally important should be so little 
attended to. I therefore address myself to you in this manner, re- 
questing in Express and peremptory terms, that you do without 

M Of a Connecticut State regiment. 

1776] PLUNDERING 13 

delay make out and return to the Adjutant General's Office 
immediately, an exact state of the Regiment or Corps under 
your Command. And that the like return be given in every 
Saturday at Orderly time without fail. I also desire in terms 
equally express, that you do not suffer the Men of your Corps 
to straggle from their Quarters, or be absent from Camp with- 
out leave, and even then, but few at a time. Your own Repu- 
tation, the safety of the Army, and the good of the cause de- 
pends, under God, upon our vigilance and readiness to oppose 
a Crafty and enterprising enemy, who are always upon the 
watch to take advantages. To prevent straggling let your Rolls 
be called over three times a day, and the delinquents punished. 
I have one thing more to urge, and that is, that every attempt 
of the Men, to plunder, Houses, Orchards, Gardens &c. be dis- 
couraged, not only for the Preservation of property and sake of 
good order, but for the prevention of those fatal Consequences, 
which usually follow such diabolical practices. In short Sir, at 
a time when every thing is at stake, It behoves every Man to 
exert himself. It will not do for the Commanding Officer of a 
Regiment to content himself, with barely giving Orders, he 
should see (at least know) they are executed. He should call 
his men out frequently and endeavour to impress them with a 
Just and true sense of their duty, and how much depends upon 
subordination and discipline. Let me therefore not only Com- 
mand, but exhort you and your Officers, as you regard your 
Reputation, your Country, and the sacred Cause of Freedom 
in which you are engaged, to Manly and Vigorous exertions at 
this time, each striving to excell the other in the respective 
duties of his department. I trust it is unnecessary for me to add 
further, and that these and all other Articles of your duty you 
will execute with a Spirit and punctuallity becoming your Sta- 
tion. I am etc. 



September 4, 1776. 
Sir: In answer to both your favours Just received by Lieutt. 
Smith, 13 1 can only say, that circumstanced as we both are at 
present, it is not in my power to give you any other instructions 
for your Conduct, than that you pursue every step which shall 
appear to you necessary and Judicious, for annoying and har- 
rassing the Enemy, and to prevent their forraging, and while 
those measures are in any degree effectual, I would wish to have 
you continue on the Island; but as soon as you find you can be 
of no longer Service, I would have you make your retreat to 
the main, without further delay. You will take care to have 
Boats so provided, as to secure your Retreat in the best manner 
possible. I am etc. 


New York, September 4, 1776. 

Sir: Since I had the Honor of addressing you on the 2d. our 
affairs have not undergone a change for the better, nor assumed 
a more agreeable aspect than what they then wore. The Militia 
under various pretences of sickness &ca. are daily diminishing 
and in a little time I am persuaded their number will be very 

On Monday night a forty Gun Ship passed up the Sound 
between Governor's and Long Island and Anchored in Turtle 
Bay. In her passage she received a discharge of Cannon from 
our Batteries, but without any damage and having a favourable 
Wind and Tide, soon got out of their reach. Yesterday morn- 
ing I dispatched Major Crane 14 of the Artillery with two twelve 

12 Of the Fourth New York Regiment. He was then on Long Island. 
13 Lieut. Samuel Smith, of the Third New York Regiment. 
14 Maj. John Crane, of Knox's artillery. 


pounders and a Howitzer to annoy her, who hulling her several 
times forced her from that Station and to take shelter behind 
an Island where she still continues. 

There are several other Ships of War in the Sound with a 
good many Transports or Store Ships which came round Long 
Island, so that, that communication is entirely cut off. The 
Admiral with the main body of the Fleet is close in with Gov- 
ernor's Island. 

Judging It expedient to guard against every Contingency, as 
far as our peculiar situation will admit, and that we may have 
resources left, If obliged to abandon this place, I have sent 
away and am removing above Kingsbridge, all our Stores that 
are unnecessary and that will not be immediately wanted. 

I have inclosed several original Letters from some of our 
Officers, prisoners at Quebec, which fell into General Gates's 
hands and were transmitted by him to General Schuyler 
who sent them to me. General Gates adds, that the persons who 
brought them said Genl. Burgoyne had sent Messages to 
the Inhabitants upon the Lakes inviting their continuance on 
their Farms and assuring them that they should remain in 

The Post Master having removed his Office from the City to 
Dobbs's ferry, as it is said, makes it extremely inconvenient, and 
will be the means of my not giving such constant and regular 
Intelligence as I could wish. Cannot some mode be devised by 
which we may have a pretty constant and certain Intercourse 
and communication kept up ? It is an Interesting matter and 
of great importance and as such I am persuaded will meet with 
due attention by Congress. 

I have transmitted the Copy of General Gates's Letter, as 
sent me by General Schuyler, from which Congress will dis- 
cover all die Information I have respecting General Burgoyne's 
Message and my latest Intelligence from Ticonderoga, with the 
returns of the Army there. 


Those of the Army here it is impossible to obtain till the 
hurry and bustle we are now in, are a little over. I have &ca. 

P. S. Congress will perceive by General Gates's Letter, 15 his 
want of Musquet Cartridge paper, It is Impossible to supply 
him from hence, they will therefore be pleased to order what 
he wants, If it can be procured, to be immediately sent him 
from Philadelphia. 18 


Head Quarters, New York, September 4, 1776. 

Parole America. Countersign Shelbourne. 

It is with amazement and concern, the General finds, that 
the men of every regiment, are suffer'd to be constantly ram- 
bling about, and at such distances from their respective quar- 
ters and encampments, as not to be able to oppose the enemy in 
any sudden approach. He therefore not only commands, but 
most earnestly exhorts the Colonels and commanding officers 
of Corps, as they value their own reputation, the safety of the 
Army, and the good of the cause, to put an immediate, and 
effectual stop to such an unsoldierlike, and dangerous practice; 
as one step towards the accomplishment of which, he orders 
and directs that all those who shall be absent without leave be 
immediately punished. 

The sick of the several regiments of Militia are to be dis- 
charged if they are well enough to get home, and choose to be 
discharged — All the other sick are to be provided for in such 
a manner, and in such places, as the Director General of the 
Hospitals and the several regimental Surgeons shall think best 
for them. In giving these discharges particular care is to be 
taken by the Colonels and General Walcott to see that none 
but those who are really sick be dismissed and that the dis- 
charges be given in writing by Genl. Walcott. 

"Gates's letter to Schuyler, dated Aug. 26, 1776, is in the Washington Papers. 
"The text is from the copy made in the office of the Secretary of Congress. 

1776] RETURNS 17 

The General does in express and peremptory terms, insist 
upon exact Returns of the several Regiments, and other Corps, 
and the Brigadiers and officers commanding Brigades, are to 
see that this order is complied with, without delay ; as it is essen- 
tially necessary for the General to be acquainted with the exact 
state of the army. 

Col Glover, during the absence of Genl. Clinton, is to be con- 
sidered as Commandant of his Brigade, and to be obeyed 

The increased number of waggons will in future admit of 
more regularity in marching the regiments than has yet pre- 
vailed — Whenever therefore a regiment is ordered to march 
they should get their Baggage in readiness, but not move it 'till 
conveniences are provided. The Qr Master of the regiment 
should then overlook it and stop all heavy, useless lumber, and 
the Commanders of regiments would do well, to take particu- 
lar Care in this matter. No Colonel is to seize any boat, or 
waggon, by his own Authority, on Penalty of having his bag- 
gage turn'd out and left. 

The Brigade Majors are ordered to have their Brigade Re- 
turns immediately made, or the General will put the Delin- 
quents in Arrest; unless the Adjutants fail in their duty, and 
they put such Adjutants in Arrest. 

The Brigade Majors both standing and temporary are here- 
after punctually to attend at eleven O'Clock at Head Quarters. 
There has been of late a shameful remissness in some of them. 


New York, September 5, 1776. 

Dear Sir: I have been favoured with your two Letters of the 

3rd. Instt. and observe what you have done in consequence of 

my Instructions. When I wrote for Troops to be sent to the 

post opposite Mount Washington, I did not imagine you would 


have so Many to spare. About a Thousand under General 
Ewing, 17 in addition to those already at the post, I think will be 
fully competent to Its defence and such Works as may be neces- 
sary to erect, and will also be sufficient to carry them on. More 
I conceive will be unnecessary and may be better employed else- 
where. Iam&c. 

P. S. You will be pleased to keep in view the matter I men- 
tioned to you about Staten Island, Esteeming a Diversion there, 
if it can be effected will be of great Service. 


Head Quarters, New York, September 5, 1776. 

Parole Chatham. Countersign Maryland. 

The Brigade Majors immediately to settle a Court Martial 
making an allowance for the Absence, or Indisposition, of any 
officers. They are to meet at the Brick-House near the encamp- 
ment, late of Genl. McDougall, to morrow at ten O'clock. 
Notice to be given accordingly — They are first to try the Scoun- 
drels, who have been detected in pillaging, and plundering, 
Lord Stirling's, and other property. 

Such as were directed by yesterday's Orders to apply to Genl. 
Walcott for discharges are in future to apply to the Brigadiers 
under whom their Regiments are ranged. 


New York, September 5, 1776. 
Dear Sir: As every thing in a manner depends upon obtain- 
ing intelligence of the enemy's motions, I do most earnestly 
entreat you and General Clinton to exert yourselves to accom- 
plish this most desirable end. Leave no stone unturned, nor do 

"Brig. Gen. James Ewing, of the Pennsylvania Militia. 


not stick at expense to bring this to pass, as I never was more 
uneasy than on account of my want of knowledge on this score. 

Keep, besides this precaution, constant lookouts (with good 
glasses) on some commanding heights that look well on to the 
other shore (and especially into the bays, where boats can be 
concealed), that they may observe, more particularly in the eve- 
ning, if there be any uncommon movements. Much will de- 
pend upon early intelligence, and meeting the enemy before 
they can intrench. I should much approve of small harassing 
parties, stealing, as it were, over in the night, as they might keep 
the enemy alarmed, and more than probably bring off a pris- 
oner, from whom some valuable intelligence may be obtained. 

Your command lays in the two brigades of Mifflin and Clin- 
ton, from whom let me have, and without delay, exact returns. 
As far as you find it convenient to advance any of those men, so 
far your authority extends. 

Let me entreat your particular attention to the stores, &c. sent 
up to the posts above. lam, etc. 18 


New York, September 6, 1776. 
Dear Sir: The present posture of our Affairs, the Season of 
the year, and many other reason's which might be urged, ren- 
ders it indispensably necessary that some Systematic plan should 
be form'd, and, as far as possible pursued, by us. I therefore 
desire that immediately upon receipt of this Letter you will let 
Genls. Mifflin and Clinton know that I desire to see them with 
you, at this place, (Head Quarters) at Eight Oclock to morrow 
Morning. Let them know (which may be done by shewing 
each of them this Letter) the business they are called together 

18 The text is from the Massachusetts Historical Society Collections, Fifth Series, 
vol. 4. 


for, in order that their thoughts may be turnd as much as pos- 
sible to the Subject. 

It might be well for neither of you to mention your coming 
hither (least, if the Enemy should have notice of the Generals 
being absent from their Posts some advantages might be taken 
of it) but it will be very proper to leave directions with the 
next Officers in Comd. in case an Enemy should appear what 
they are to do that no confusion may arise. I am, etc. 

P. S. Do not fail to bring exact returns of the two Brigades 
with you, and the two Jersey Regiments at Fort Washington; a 
perfect knowledge of our strength being indispensably neces- 
sary to the determining upon any Plan. [ ms. h. s.] 


Head Quarters, New York, September 6, 1776. 
Sir: I have now before me your Letter of the 4th Inst., inclos- 
ing the report against Ordering out any more of the Militia 
from the Counties of Orange, Dutchess, Westchester or Ulster. 
The reasons alledged by the Committee, to whom this matter 
was referred, are intirely satisfactory to me, and therefore I do 
not expect a Compliance with that part of my Letter which 
respects this Matter. I have the Honor to be &ca. 


New York, September 6, 1776. 
Sir: I have been honored with your favor of the 31st Ulto. 
and am extremely obliged by the Measures you are taking, in 
consequence of my recommendation Letter. The exertions of 
Connecticut upon this, as well as upon every other occasion, 
do them great honor and I hope will be attended with successful 


and happy Consequences. In respect to the mode of Conduct, 
to be pursued by the Troops, that go over to the Island, I cannot 
lay down any Certain rule, it must be formed and governed by 
Circumstances and the Direction of those who Command them. 
I should have done myself the honor of transmitting you an 
Account of the Engagement between a detachment of our 
Troops and the Enemy on long Island on the 27th, and of our Re- 
treat from thence, before now, had it not been for the Multi- 
plicity of Business I have been involved in ever since; and, being 
still engaged, I cannot enter upon a Minute and particular de- 
tail of the affair; I shall only add, that we lost, in killed, wounded 
and prisoners, from 700 to 1,000 Men. Among the Prisoners 
are Genl. Sullivan and Lord Stirling. The Inclosed list will 
shew you the names of many of the officers that are Prisoners; 
The Action was chiefly with the Troops from Jersey, Pennsyl- 
vania, the lower Counties, and Maryland, and Col. Hunting- 
don's Regt.; they suffered greatly, being attacked and over- 
powred by Numbers of the Enemy greatly superior to them. 
The Enemy's loss we have not been able to ascertain; but we 
have reason to believe it was considerable, as the Engagement 
was Warm and Conducted with great Resolution and bravery 
on the part of our Troops. During the Engagement, a deep 
Column of the Enemy descended from the Woods and at- 
tempted an Impression upon our Lines, but retreated imme- 
diately on the Discharge of a Cannon and part of theMusquetry 
from the line nearest to them. As the Main body of the Enemy 
had Encamped not far from our Lines, and I had reason to 
believe they intended to force us from them by regular Ap- 
proaches, which the Nature of the Ground favored extremely, 
and at the same time meant, by the Ships of War, to cut off the 
Communication between the City and the Island, and by that 
means keep our Men divided and unable to oppose them any 


where; by the advice of the General Officers, on the night of the 
29th, I withdrew our Troops from thence without any loss of 
Men and but little Baggage. I am &c. 


Head Quarters, New York, September 6, 1776. 

Sir: By a Letter from Major General Sullivan, while on Long 
Island, and which he acquainted me was wrote by your per- 
mission, I was informed, it would be agreeable to exchange 
that Gentleman for Major General Prescott, and Brigadier 
Lord Sterling for any Brigadier of yours in our possession. 

In consequence of this intelligence, I have wrote to Congress, 
requesting that General Prescott may be sent here, that this 
proposal may be carried into execution. We have no Brigadier 
of yours a Prisoner with us, except General McDonald, taken 
in North Carolina, whom I am willing to exchange for Lord 
Sterling, and shall be glad to know your pleasure on the Sub- 
ject. 19 I have the Honor to be Sir, etc. 


New York, September 6, 1776. 

Sir: I was last Night honored with your favor of the 3d with 
sundry Resolutions of Congress and perceiving it to be their 
Opinion and determination that no Damage shall be done the 
City, in case we are Obliged to abandon it, I shall take every 
measure in my power to prevent it. 

Since my Letter of the 4th., nothing very material has oc- 
curred, unless it is, that the Fleet are drawing more together 
and all getting close in with Governor's Island. Their designs 
we cannot learn, nor have we been able to procure the least 
information lately, of any of their plans or intended operations. 

M See Washington's letter to Sir William Howe, Sept. 19, 1776, post. 


As the Enemy's movements are very different from what we 
expected and from their large Encampments a considerable 
way up the Sound, there is reason to believe they intend to 
make a landing above or below Kings bridge and thereby 
to hem in our Army and cut off the communication with the 
Country; I mean to call a Council of General Officers to day 
or to morrow and endeavour to digest and fix on some regular 
and certain System of Conduct to be pursued, in order to baffle 
their efforts and counteract their Schemes and also to deter- 
mine on the expediency of evacuating or attempting to main- 
tain the City and the several posts on this Island. 

The result of their opinion and deliberations I shall advise 
Congress of by the earliest Opportunity, which will be by Ex- 
press, having it not in my power to communicate any Intelli- 
gence by post as the Office is removed to so great a distance and 
entirely out of the way. 20 

I have inclosed a List of the Officers who are prisoners, and 
from whom Letters have been received by a Flag. We know 
there are others not included in the list. 

General Sullivan having informed me, that General Howe is 
willing that an exchange of him for General Prescot should 
take place, it will be proper to send General Prescot immedi- 
ately that it may be effected. 

As the Militia Regiments in all probability will be impatient 
to return and become pressing for their pay, I shall be glad of 
the direction of Congress, Whether they are to receive it here, 
or from the Conventions, or Assemblies of the respective States 
to which they belong. On the one hand, the settlement of their 
Abstracts will be attended with trouble and difficulty; on the 
other they will go away much better satisfied and be more ready 
to give their aid in future, If they are paid before their departure. 

20 See Washington's letter to Congress, Sept. 4, 1776, ante. 


Before I conclude, I must take the Liberty of mentioning to 
Congress the great distress we are in for want of Money. Two 
month's pay and more to some Battalions, is now due the Troops 
here, without any thing in the Military chest to satisfy it. This 
occasions much disatisf action and almost a general uneasiness. 
Not a day passes without complaints and the most Importunate 
and urgent demands on this head. As it may Injure the service 
greatly, and the want of a regular supply of cash produce con- 
sequences of the most fatal tendency, I entreat the attention of 
Congress to this Subject and that we may be provided, as soon 
as can be with a sum equal to every present claim. 

I have wrote to General Howe proposing an Exchange of 
General McDonald for Lord Stirling and shall be extremely 
happy to obtain it, as well as that of General Sullivan for Gen- 
eral Prescot, being greatly in want of them and under the neces- 
sity of appointing protempore some of the Colonels to command 
Brigades. I have &ca. 

P S. As two Regiments from Carolina and 3 more from Vir- 
ginia are ordered here, If they could embark at Norfolk &ca. 
and come up the Bay with Security, It would expedite their 
arrival and prevent the men from a long fatiguing march. This 
However should not be attempted; If the Enemy have Vessels 
in the Bay and which might probably intercept 'em. 21 


Head Quarters, New York, September 6, 1776. 

Parole Pitt. Countersign Camden. 

David Henly Esqr. is appointed Depy. Adjt. General until 
further orders, and is immediately to repair to General Spen- 
cer's division to regulate the several Returns and do the other 

21 In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. The "Letter Book" records the last 
sentence thus: "If the Enemy have Vessels that could take them and that are in 
the Bay." 

1776] PLUNDERING 25 

duties of said office, extending his care to the division under 
Genl. Heath, he is to be obeyed and respected accordingly. 

Col Glover, Commandant of Genl Clinton's Brigade, is to 
recommend a suitable, active officer, for Major of Brigade, in 
Major Henly's stead. 

The General expects the Majors of Brigade, to be very active 
and careful, to get their Brigades in the best order; to bring on 
their Guards and Fatigue Parties early; see the proper reliefs 
marched off; Returns made, and to march with the Brigade 
to the Alarm Posts, as frequently as possible — The Adjutants 
being under their particular direction, they are to see that they 
do their duty and put them in Arrest where they fail in it. 

The Majors of Brigade and Adjutants are reminded, that the 
Returns are all expected in to morrow, both regimental and 
brigade, in order to complete the General Return. Any one 
who fails will be noticed in public orders. 

The General is resolved to put a stop to plundering, and 
converting either public, or private property, to their own use 
when taken off, or found by any soldiers — He therefore calls 
upon all the officers, to exert themselves against it, and if the 
Colonels, or other officers of Regiments see, or know, of any 
Horses, Furniture, Merchandize, or such other Property, in the 
hands of any officer or soldier; and do not immediately take 
hold of it, giving immediate notice of it to the Brigadier Gen- 
eral; such Officer will be deemed a party, brought to a Court 
Martial, and broke with Infamy : For let it ever be remembered, 
that no plundering Army was ever a successful one. 


Head Quarters, New York, September 7, 1776. 
Parole Temple. Contersign Liberty. 
John Davis of Capt Hamilton's Company of Artillery, tried 
by a Court Martial whereof Col. Malcom was President, was 


convicted of "Desertion" and sentenced to receive Thirty-nine 
lashes. Levi Webster, of Capt Hydes Company, Col Wyllys's 
Regt., convicted by the same Court Martial of the same offence, 
sentenced to the same punishment. 

The General approves the sentence, and orders them to be 
executed, on the regimental parade, at the usual hour in the 

A Court Martial, consisting of a Commandant of a brigade, 
two Colonels, two Lt. Cols. — two Majors and six Captains to 
sit to morrow at Mrs. Montagnie's to try Major Post 22 of Col 
Kacklien's Regt. "For Cowardice, in running away fromLong- 
Island when an alarm was given of the approach of the enemy. 
The same Court Martial also to try John Spanzenberg Adju- 
tant of the same Regiment, for the same offence, and likewise 
Lieut Peter Kacklein. 23 

Benjamin Stone appointed Quarter Master, William Adams 
appointed Pay Master; Nathaniel Webb Adjutant of Col Dur- 
kee's Regiment. Daniel Tilden Esqr. to do duty as Captain 'till 
further orders. 

Richard Sill appointed Pay Master to Col Tylers Regimt. 

Major Lee 24 is desired to do "duty of Brigade Major in Major 
Henly's stead, 'till an appointment is made. 


New York, September 7, 1776. 
Sir: This will be delivered you by Captain Martindale and 
Lieutenant Turner 25 who were taken last Fall in the armed Brig 

^Maj. Michael Probst, of Lieut. Col. Peter Kechlein's Pennsylvania Militia. 

23 The Pennsylvania Archives and Heitman's Register do not agree as to the Kech- 
lein's, or Kachlein's. The Archives give Peter the rank of lieutenant colonel, com- 
manding the Northampton County regiment, and Andrew as a captain in the Bucks 
County militia; Heitman makes Andrew the colonel and Peter the lieutenant, but this 
Lieutenant Peter was Peter, jr. 

"Maj. William Raymond Lee, of the Fourteenth Continental Infantry. 

25 Capt. Sion Martindale and Lieut. Moses Turner were both of the Third Rhode 
Island Regiment before being detached for service on the Continental armed vessels. 


Washington and who with Mr. Childs the 2d. Lieutenant have 
lately effected their escape from Hallif ax. 

Captain Martindale and these two Officers have applied to 
me for pay from the 1st. of January 'till this time But not con- 
ceiving myself authorized to grant it, however reasonable It 
may be, as they were only engaged 'till the last of December; 
at their Instance I have mentioned the matter to Congress and 
submit their case to their consideration. I have &ca. 26 


Head Quarters, New York, September 8, 1776. 
Sir: Since I had the Honor of addressing you on the 6th. 
instant, I have called a Council of the General Officers, in order 
to take a full and comprehensive view of our Situation and 
thereupon form such a plan of future defence, as may be imme- 
diately pursued and subject to no other Alteration than a change 
of Operations on the Enemy's side may occasion. 27 Before the 
landing of the Enemy on Long Island, the point of Attack 
could not be known or any satisfactory Judgment formed of 
their Intentions. It might be on Long Island, on Bergen or di- 
rectly on the City, this made it necessary to be prepared for each, 
and has occasioned an Expence of Labour which now seems 
useless and is regretted by those who form a Judgment from 
after Knowledge. But I trust, men of discernment will think 
differently and see that by such Works and preparations we 
have not only delayed the Operations of the Campaign, till it is 
too late to effect any capital Incursion into the Country, but 
have drawn the Enemy's forces to one point and obliged them 
to decline their plan, so as to enable us to form our defence on 

26 In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 

27 The record of this council of war (held September 7) is missing from the Wash- 
ington Papers. It was evidently missing in 1781, as there is a blank page left in the 
Varick Transcripts where it should have been entered. 


some Certainty. It is now extremely obvious, from all Intelli- 
gence, from their movements and every other circumstance, 
that having landed their whole Army on Long Island (except 
about 4000, on Staten Island) they mean to enclose us on the 
Island of New York by taking post in our Rear, while the Ship- 
ping effectually secure the Front, and thus either by cutting off 
our communication with the Country, oblige us to fight them 
on their own Terms, or surrender at discretion, or by a brilliant 
Stroke endeavour to cut this Army in pieces and secure the Col- 
lection of Arms and Stores which they well know we shall not 
be soon able to replace. 

Having therefore their System unfolded to us, it became an 
important consideration how it could be most successfully op- 
posed. On every side there is a Choice of difficulties and every 
Measure on our part (however painful the reflection is from 
experience) to be formed with some Apprehension that all our 
Troops will not do their duty. 

In deliberating on this Question it was impossible to forget, 
that History, our own experience, the advice of our ablest 
Friends in Europe, the fears of the Enemy, and even the Dec- 
larations of Congress demonstrate, that on our Side the War 
should be defensive. It has even been called a War of Posts. 
That we should on all Occasions avoid a general Action, or put 
anything to the Risque, unless compelled by a necessity, into 
which we ought never to be drawn. 

The Arguments on which such a System was founded were 
deemed unanswerable and experience has given her sanction. 
With these views, and being fully persuaded that it would be 
presumption to draw out our Young Troops into open ground, 
against their Superiors both in number and Discipline; I have 
never spared the Spade and Pick Ax; I confess I have not found 
that readiness to defend even strong Posts, at all hazards, which 
is necessary to derive the greatest benefit from them. The honor 


of making a brave defence does not seem to be a sufficient 
stimulus, when the success is very doubtful, and the falling 
into the Enemy's hands probable. But I doubt not this will be 
gradually attained. We are now in a strong Post, but not an 
Impregnable one, nay acknowledged by every man of Judg- 
ment to be untenable, unless the Enemy will make the Attack 
upon Lines, when they can avoid it and their Movements indi- 
cate that they mean to do so. To draw the whole Army together 
in order to arrange the defence proportionate to the extent of 
Lines and works, would leave the Country open to an Approach 
and put the fate of this Army and its Stores on the hazard of 
making a successful defence in the City, or the Issue of an En- 
gagement out of it. On the other hand to abandon a City, 
which has been by some deemed defensible and on whose 
Works much Labour has been bestowed, has a tendency to 
dispirit the Troops and enfeeble our Cause. It has also been 
considered as the Key to the Northern Country. But as to this 
I am fully of opinion, that by Establishing of strong posts at 
Mont Washington on the upper part of this Island and on the 
Jersey side opposite to it, with the Assistance of the Obstruc- 
tions already made and which may be improved in the Water, 
that not only the navigation of Hudson's River but an easier 
and better communication, may be effectually secured between 
the Northern and Southern States. This I believe every one 
acquainted with the situation of the Country will readily agree 
to, and will appear evident to those who have an Opportunity 
of recuring to good maps. These and the many other conse- 
quences, which will be involved in the determination of our 
next measure, have given our Minds full employ and led every 
one to form a Judgement, as the various objects presented them- 
selves to his view. The post at Kings Bridge is naturally strong 
and is pretty well fortified the Heights about it are command- 
ing and might soon be made more so. 


These are important Objects and I have attended to them 
accordingly. I have also removed from the City all the Stores 
and Ammunition, except what was absolutely Necessary for its 
defence and made every other Disposition that did not essen- 
tially enterf ere with that Ob j ect, carefully keeping in view, until 
it should be absolutely determined on full consideration, how 
far the City was to be defended at all events. In resolving points 
of such Importance, many circumstances peculiar to our own 
Army, also occur; being Provided only for a Summers Cam- 
paign, their Cloaths, Shoes and Blanketts will soon be unfit for 
the change of weather which we every day feel. At present we 
have not Tents for more than 2/3ds., many of them old and 
worn out, but if we had a Plentiful supply the season will not 
admit of continuing in them much longer. 

The case of our Sick is also worthy of much consideration, 
their number by the returns form at least i/4th. of the Army: 
Policy and humanity require they should be made as comfort- 
able as possible. With these and many other circumstances 
before them, the whole Council of General Officers, met Yes- 
terday, in order to adopt some general line of Conduct to be 
pursued at this important crisis; I intended to have procured 
their seperate opinions on each point, but time would not admit 
I was Obliged to collect their sense more generally than I could 
have wished; We all agreed that the Town was not tenable if 
the Enemy was resolved to bombard and Cannonade it : But the 
difficulties attending a removal operated so strongly, that a 
Course was taken between abandoning it totally and concen- 
tring our whole strength for its defence; nor were some a little 
influenced in their Opinion, to whom the determination of 
Congress was known, against an Evacuation totally ; suspecting 
that Congress wished it to be maintained at every hazard, 28 It 

28 Washington's letter was read in Congress (September 10), and it was resolved 
"That Mr. President inform General Washington, it was by no means the sense of 
Congress in their resolve of the third inst. respecting New York, that the army, or 


was concluded to arrange the Army under three Divisions 
5000 to remain for the defence of the City, 9000 to remove to 
Kingsbridge, as well to Possess and secure those Posts, as to be 
ready to Attack the Enemy, who are moving Eastward on long 
Island, if they should attempt to land on this side; The re- 
mainder to occupy the intermediate space and support either, 
that the sick should be immediately removed to Orange Town — 
and Barracks prepared at Kingsbridge with all expedition, to 
cover the Troops; there were some Generals in whose Judg- 
ments great confidence is to be reposed, that were for an imme- 
diate removal from the City, urging the great danger of one 
part of our Army being cut off, before the other can support it, 
The extremities being at least 16 Miles apart; that our Army 
when collected is inferior to the Enemy; that they can move 
with their whole force to any point of Attack and consequently 
must succeed, by weight of numbers, if they have only a part 
to oppose them; that by removing from hence we deprive the 
Enemy of the Advantage of their Ships, which will make at 
least one half of the force to attack the Town; that we keep 
them at bay, but put nothing to the hazard and at all events 
keep an Army together, which can be recruited another Year; 
that the unspent Stores will also be preserved, and in this case 
the heavy Artillery can be secured. — But they were overruled 
by a Majority, who thought for the present a part of our force 
might be kept here and attempt to maintain the City a while 
longer. 29 I am sensible a retreating Army is incircled with 

any part of it, should remain in that city a moment longer than he shall think it 
proper for the public service that troops be continued there." (See Journals of the 
Continental Congress.} 

* 9 General Greene was urgent for the immediate evacuation of New York and die 
destruction of the city. The entire difficulty over New York rested with the strong 
loyalist element and the natural objection to a heavy property loss, which latter 
placed too great a strain upon the immature and green patriotism of the citizens. 
John Jay was one of the few New Yorkers who was willing to see the city destroyed 
rather than allow it to become an advantage to the British. Greene's arguments are 
in the Washington Papers under date of Sept. 5, 1776, and fill seven pages. They are 
printed in Force's American Archives, Fifth Series, vol. 2, 182. 


difficulties, that the declining an Engagement subjects a General 
to reproach and that the common Cause may be in some meas- 
ure affected by the discouragements which it throws over the 
minds of many; nor am I insensible of the contrary effects, if a 
brilliant stroke could be made with any Probability of success, 
especially after our loss upon Long Island : but when the fate 
of America may be at stake on the Issue; when the Wisdom of 
cooler moments and experienced Men have decided that we 
should protract the War if Possible; I cannot think it safe or 
wise to adopt a different System, when the season for Action 
draws so near a close. That the Enemy mean to Winter in New 
York there can be no doubt ; that with such an Armament they 
can drive us out is equally clear. The Congress having resolved, 
that it should not be destroyed, nothing seems to remain but to 
determine the time of their taking Possession It is our Interest 
and wish to prolong it, as much as possible, provided the delay 
does not affect our further measures. The Militia of Connecti- 
cut is reduced from 8000 30 to less than 2000 and in a few days 
will be merely nominal; the arrival of some Maryland Troops 
&c. from the flying Camp, has in a great degree supplied the 
loss of Men, but the Ammunition they have carried away will 
be a loss sensibly felt. The impulse for going home was so irri- 
sistable, it answered no purpose to oppose it, tho' I could not 
discharge, I have been obliged to acquiesce; and it affords one 
more melancholy Proof how delusive such dependences are. 

Inclosed I have the Honor to transmit a General Return of 
the Army, the first I have been able to obtain for a considerable 
time; Also a report from Captain Newel 81 from our Works at 
Horn's Hook, or Hell Gate; their situation is extremely low 
and the sound so very narrow that the Enemy have 'em much 
within their Command. I have &ca. 

30 Harrison wrote 6000, but a later pen change makes it 8000. 
31 Capt. Eliphalet Newhall, of Knox's artillery. 

1776] NEED OF TROOPS 33 

P. S. The Inclosed information this minute came to Hand, 32 
I am in hopes we shall hence forth get regular Intelligence of 
the Enemy's Movement. 33 


Head Quarters, New York, September 8, 1776. 

Sir : I have received your letter by General Roberdeau 34 of the 
8th. of Septembr, and am sorry to hear of your indisposition, 
which however I hope will in a short time be removed. There 
has nothing very material passed in this Quarter since youwere 
here, still matters wear so critical an aspect, that I have deter- 
mined to call over Colonel Ward's Regiment 35 from the post 
opposite Mount Washington; you will therefore be pleased to 
detach so many of the Troops under your Command, as will 
make up this deficiency, and still keep General Ewing's Com- 
pliment of fifteen hundred men intire. Notwithstanding this 
Assistance, I shall still stand in need of two or three thousand 
men to reinforce the posts here, and am anxious for the arrival 
of the Maryland and Virginia Troops, which are on their march 
to this place, I shall be glad you will immediately inform me 
by Express, where they are, and when I may with Certainty 
expect them; I could wish they were pushed forward with all 
possible expedition. General Roberdeau will Communicate to 
you, the result of the Council, also any other thing material 
which are not mentioned in this Letter. I am, etc. 

P. S. I desire you will direct the Engineer to Expedite the 
Works (to the utmost of his abilities) which are necessary for 
the defence of General Ewing's Post. 

32 The intelligence was from Isaac Nicoll at New Rochelle, N. Y. Washington for- 
warded the original, and it. is filed with his letter in the Papers of the Continental 

33 In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 

Brig. Gen. Roberdeau, of the Pennsylvania Militia. 
30 Col. Andrew Ward's Connecticut State regiment. 



Head Quarters, New York, September 8, 1776. 

Dear Sir: I have lately received Information (on which I can 
in some measure rely) that it is impracticable for Carriages to 
pass from Harlem point or any of the landing places contigu- 
ous to it, towards Kingsbridge any other way than along the 
publick roads; I should therefore, conceive it would be highly 
expedient to throw every impediment and obstruction in the 
ways leading from the above mentioned places, as also in 
the roads leading from Morrissania and Delancy's Mills, and 
indeed any other, which you conceive there is a probability of 
the Enemy's making use of, in order to prevent, or at least delay 
them in the Conveyance of their Artillery. In some places it 
may be necessary to fell trees across the roads, in others I would 
recommend deep pitts to be dug. In short I must request you 
will have them broke up and destroyed in such a manner as to 
render them utterly impassable. 

I mean those roads within your district leading from Kings- 
bridge down to the points, on which it is supposed the Enemy 
will Land. I am etc. 

P. S. As the money is now arrived, you will order to be deliv- 
ered in all the pay abstracts for July and Augt. 


New York, September 8, 1776. 
Sir: I have this day wrote to the President of the Convention 
of New York, requesting that an Aid of Six hundred Militia 
may be sent to you from the Counties of Ulster and Orange, or 
any other that is more proper and convenient, for the purpose 
of assisting you, either in the defence of the High lands, in case 


they should be attacked, or of constructing New Works and 
Fortifications, by which they may be rendered more secure. 
However, whether you receive this Reinforcement or not, I must 
intreat you in the strongest manner to exert yourself to the 
utmost of your abilities in making those two posts at the High 
lands, as defensible as possible. Their great Importance must 
be obvious to every person. I am. 


New York, September 8, 1776. 

Sir: I have just received the Resolve of your Convention, 
respecting the removal of the Bells belonging to the different 
Churches and Public Edifices in this City, to New Ark in the 
Province of New Jersey. The Measure I highly approve of, and 
shall accordingly have it Carried into Execution. 

I have lately been Conversing with Genl Clinton, concerning 
the Defence of the Forts in the Highlands, who agrees with me 
in Sentiment, that the force already there is by no means Suffi- 
cient; I should therefore conceive it would be greatly in ad- 
vancement of the Service, if you would cause a Reinforcement 
of Militia, amounting to about 600 Men, to be sent there from 
the Counties of Ulster and Orange or any other that may be 
most proper and Convenient. They may be usefully and im- 
portantly employed, as well in defence of the Highlands, in case 
they should be attacked, as in erecting new Works and Fortifi- 
cations, by which they may be rendered more Secure. I am, etc. 


New York, September 8, 1776. 
Sir: I wrote you this Morning by your Express; but forgot 
to mention a Matter of Consequence. It being determined to 


remove our Sick to Orange Town, we shall want four Large 
Albany Sloops for that Purpose; The fatigue of traveling that 
distance by land, would not only be more than the patients 
could bear, but we have full employ for our Waggons in trans- 
porting Baggage, Tents &c. for the Troops from hence to our 
out Posts; I must therefore beg the favor of your honorable 
Body to procure the above number of Vessels and send them 
down with as much dispatch as possible to this City. I am etc. 
P. S. I shall be glad to know by return of the Express, when 
I may probably expect the Sloops down, There are several now 
on the lower parts of the River with Boards; perhaps you might 
engage them to come this way, which would save time. 


Head Quarters, New York, September 8, 1776. 

Parole Grayson. Countersign Tilghman. 

Alexander Mclntire of Capt. NewalPs 36 Company, James 
Butler of Capt. Darby's 37 Company, and John Knowlton of 
Capt. Maxwell's 38 Company; all of Col Prescotts Regiment 
tried by a Court Martial, whereof Col Malcom was Presi- 
dent, and acquitted of "plundering a Celler belonging to a 
Citizen of New York" — each ordered to be discharged and 
join their regiments. 

Ames Reed Corporal in Capt Vancleavers 39 Company, Regi- 
ment late Col Johnson's, 40 tried by the same Court Martial, and 
convicted of "Speaking disrespectfully and villifying the Com- 
mander in Chief" — sentenced to receive Thirty-nine Lashes, 

36 Capt. Jonathan Newell. 

37 Capt. Samuel Darby. 

38 Capt. Hugh Maxwell, of the Seventh Continental Infantry. 
39 Capt. Benjamin Van Cleve, of the New Jersey Militia. 

40 Col. Philip Johnson, of a New Jersey Militia regiment. He was killed in the Battle 
of Long Island, N. Y., on August 27. 


at different days successively, thirteen each day, and reduced to 
the ranks. 

John Little of Col Knox's Regt. of Artillery, Capt. Hamilton's 
Company, convicted by the same Court Martial of "Abusing 
Adjt. Henly, and striking him" — ordered to receive Thirty- 
nine lashes in the same manner. 

The General approves the above sentences and orders them 
to be put in execution at the usual time and place. 

The General directs, that in future, in case of any Soldier 
detected in plundering, the Brigadier General, or Colonel, or 
commanding Officer of the Regiment immediately call a Court 
Martial, and have the offenders tried and punished without 


Head Quarters, New York, September 9, 1776. 

Parole Mifflin. Countersign Putnam. 

Elias Matthew appointed Quarter Master to Tyler's regiment. 

Gardiner Carpenter appointed Pay Master to Colonel Hunt- 
ington's regiment. 

The Colonels, or commanding officers of regiments, or Pay 
Masters where appointed, are immediately to prepare and send 
in, their Pay-Abstracts, for the Months of July and August — 
The Pay-Master will attend at his old Office at Mr. Lispenard's 
on Thursday and Friday to receive those of the division under 
General Putnam. A time and place will be appointed in Gen- 
eral Orders to morrow to receive those of Genl. Heath's and 
Spencer's divisions. 

Mr. Adjutant Bradford, to do the duty of Brigade Major to 
Genl. Nixons Brigade, during Major Box's illness. 

The Maryland Brigade being ordered to march, Genl. Fel- 
lows's to supply 250 Men in their stead, 'till further Orders. 


The several Brigade Majors are required to have their men, 
on the Grand parade, at eight O'clock, every Monday precisely, 
or they will be publickly reprimanded. The late relief of the 
Guards is a Subject of general Complaint — No failure of duty in 
the Adjutant will execuse, unless the Adjutant is put in Arrest. 


Head Quarters, New York, September 9, 1776. 

My Lord: I do myself the Honor of transmitting to your 
Lordship the inclosed Letter, recommended to my care by 
Doctor Franklin and which just now came to Hand. 41 

If your Lordship shall incline to return an Answer to Dr. 
Franklin, and will Honor me with the charge of it, I will imme- 
diately forward it to him by Express. I am, etc. 


Head Quarters, New York, September 9, 1776. 

Sir: I have the honor of your favor of the 5th Instant, and am 
sorry to say that, from the best information we have been able 
to obtain, the people on Long Island have, since our evacuation, 
gone generally over to the Enemy, and made such Concessions 
as have been required — some through compulsion I suppose, 
but more from Inclination. As a diversion upon the Island has 
been impracticable under these circumstances, I think you have 
done well in assisting the removal of the persons and Effects of 
our Friends from thence. 

I observe, with great pleasure, that you have ordered the re- 
maining Regiments of Militia that can be spared from the 
immediate defence of the Sea Coast, to march towards New 

"Benjamin Franklin's letter of September 8 in answer to Howe's of August 16 
informing his Lordship that the committee of Congress of which he (Franklin) was 
a member would soon be at Amboy, N. }., as a result of Howe's message through 
General Sullivan. 


York with all expedition. I cannot sufficiently express my 
thanks, not only for your constant ready compliance with every 
request of mine, but for your own strenuous exertions and pru- 
dent forecast in ordering matters so, that your force has gen- 
erally been collected and put in motion as soon as It has been 

With respect to the Militia, both Horse and Foot, I am of 
opinion that they will render us more service by rendezvousing 
at different places along the Sound, in Westchester County and 
thereabouts, than by coming directly to this City. It will not 
only give the Enemy, who are extending their Encampment up 
the Island, an Idea of our Force along the Coast, but If they 
should attempt a landing above King's Bridge, they will be in 
readiness to Join our force about that place. The Horse par- 
ticularly, whose rapid motion enables them to be in a short time 
at any point of Attack. Besides, the difficulty of procuring for- 
age upon this Island for any number of Horses, is an objection 
to their being stationed here. I fear the Militia, by leaving their 
Homes so suddenly, and in a manner unprepared for a long 
absence, have sustained some Injury. To this cause I must im- 
pute, in a great measure, their impatience to return, and the 
diminution of their number at this time to about 2000. Their 
want of discipline, the Indulgences they claim and have been 
allowed, their unwillingness, I may add refusal, to submit to 
that regularity and order essential in every Army, Infecting the 
rest of our Troops more or less, have been of pernicious tend- 
ency, and occasioned a good deal of confusion and disorder. 
But, Sir, these things are not peculiar to those from any one 
State; they are common to all Militia, and what must be gener- 
ally expected : For men who have been free, and never subject to 
restraint or any kind of control, cannot be taught the necessity, 
or be brought to see the expediency, of strict discipline in a day. 


I highly approve of your plan and proposition for raising such 
a naval force as will be sufficient to clear the Sound of the 
Enemy's Ships of War. If Admiral Hopkins will Join you, I 
should suppose It not only practicable, but a matter of certainty ; 
and If It can be effected, many valuable and salutary conse- 
quences must result from It. As to draufting seamen from the 
Continental Regiments, It cannot be done, as their Numbers 
have been reduced so low already by taking men from them for 
the Gallies, Boats, and other purposes, that some of them have 
hardly any thing left but the name; besides, I must depend 
chiefly upon them for a successful opposition to the Enemy. If 
It can be done out of the Militia, I shall not have the least objec- 
tion, and heartily wish the Enterprise, whenever attempted, 
may be attended with all possible success. Secrecy and dispatch 
will be the most likely to give It a happy Issue. The Enemy's 
Ships can receive no reinforcements but such as go round Long 
Island. Our Works at Hell Gate preventing their sending Ships 
that way, they are sensible of their importance, and yesterday 
opened Two Three-Gun Batteries to effect their destruction, 
but as yet have not materially damaged them; and they must be 
maintained If possible. I have, &c. 

P. S. The nearer the Militia and Horse keep on the Sound 
towards King's Bridge,the better,as theywill be readytooppose 
any Landing of the Enemy, and also to receive orders for rein- 
forcing any posts on this side, in case of necessity. 


Head Quarters, New York, September 10, 1776. 
Parole Marblehead. Countersign Orange. 
Major Popst of Col Kackleins 42 Battalion having been tried 
by a Court Martial whereof Col Silliman was President on a 

^Lieut. Col. Peter Kechlein (Kachlein), of the Northampton (Pa.) militia, and 
Maj. Michael Probst, of the same. 

1776] STRAGGLERS 41 

charge of "Cowardice and shamefully abandoning his post on 
Long-Island the 28th. of August"; is acquitted of Cowardice 
but convicted of Misbehaviour in the other instance — he is 
therefore sentenced to be dismissed the Army as totally un- 
qualified to hold a Military Commission. Adjutant Spangen- 
burg and Lieut. Kacklein 43 tried for the same Offence were 
acquitted. The General approves the sentence as to Spangen- 
burg and Kacklein, and orders them to join their regiment: 
But as there is reason to believe farther Evidence can soon be 
obtained with respect to the Major — he is to continue under 
Arrest 'till they can attend. 

The Brigade Major of the day, to carry the Parole and Coun- 
tersign, to the several Guards, as formerly; taking care that it 
be done early. 

The Brigade Majors are directed to have the several Regi- 
ments join in Brigade as often as possible, and to be very careful 
that they are thoroughly acquainted with their Alarm-Posts 
and the Lines they are to mann. 

The General observes with great concern, that too little care 
is taken, to prevent the men straggling from their quarters, and 
encampments, so that in case of a sudden Attack, it will be dim- 
cult to collect them; he therefore most anxiously desires, both 
Officers and Men, would attend to it, and consider, how much 
their safety, and success depends upon their being at hand, 
when wanted — The order for calling the Roll three times a day, 
is to be punctually obeyed, and any officer omitting it, will be 
brought to a Court-Martial. 

Great Complaints are made of the Adjutants, as being irreg- 
ular and remiss in duty — The General informs them, that he 
expects an alacrity and dispatch of business, equal to the impor- 
tance of their situation, and will certainly make some examples, 

43 Lieut. Peter Kechlein, jr., and Adjt. John Spangenberg, of the Northampton (Pa.) 


if (which he sincerely hopes may not be the case) there should 
be any farther reason for complaint. 

The Court Martial to sit to morrow, for the trial of Capt. 
Rapaljee, 44 confined by Col Lasher, for refusing to do duty. 

Major Scammell 45 is appointed a temporary Assistant, to the 
Ad j utant General, and is to repair to Genl. Heath's division — He 
is to be obeyed and respected accordingly. 

Head Quarters, New York, September u, 1776. 

Parole Ulster. Countersign Albany. 

Robt. Williams of Col Glovers Regiment is appointed Pay 
Master to said regiment. 

William Arnold and Samuel Clark of Capt Smith's 46 Com- 
pany, Col Smallwood's Regiment — Daniel Donovel of Capt. 
Hardenberg's 47 Company, tried by a Court Martial whereof Col 
Malcom was President, on a charge of "Plundering the House 
lately occupied by Lord Stirling" — Donovel was convicted of 
the crime and sentenced to receive Thirty-nine Lashes — the 
others acquitted — The General approves the sentence, orders 
the latter to join their regiments and Donovel to be whipp'd 
to morrow, on the Grand parade, before the Guards march 
off — The Provost Marshal to see it executed, Col Ritzema's 
Regt. being removed. 

Peter Richards, Serjeant in the General's Guard convicted 
by the same Court Martial of "Abusing and striking Capt 

44 Capt. Jacques Repalje, of Lasher's New York regiment. 

45 Maj. Alexander Scammell. He, later, became Adjutant General of the Continental 
Army. Was killed at Yorktown, Va. 

46 Capt. Samuel Smith. He was promoted to major, Fourth Maryland Regiment, 
Dec. 10, 1776; lieutenant colonel, Feb. 22, 1777; wounded at Fort Mifflin, Delaware 
River, Oct. 22, 1777; presented with a sword by Congress, Nov. 4, 1777, for his gal- 
lant defense at that fort; resigned in May, 1779. He was a major general of Maryland 
Militia in the War of 1812. 

_ "'Capt. Cornelius Hardenbergh, of the Third New York Regiment. He was cash- 
iered Oct. 8, 1776. 

1776] PAYMASTERS 43 

Gibbs," 48 sentenced to be reduced to the ranks, and whipped 
Thirty-nine Lashes. The General approves the sentence, and 
orders it to be executed, to morrow morning, at the head of the 
company at eight o'Clock. 

Col Palfrey Pay Master will receive the Pay-Abstracts agree- 
able to yesterday's Orders of Genl Spencer's Division, at General 
McDougall's quarters, near Harlem on Saturday and Sunday — 
Of General Heath's division at his Head-Quarters at any time. 

The commanding Officers of Col Silliman's, Col Lewis, Col 
Mead's and Col Thompson's Regts. 49 to examine the state of the 
Ammunition of their regiments, it being reported that their 
men on Guard last night were deficient. 

John Christy of Col Humphrey's 50 Regt. convicted by a 
Court Martial whereof Col Malcom was President of "Deser- 
tion" — ordered to receive Thirty-nine lashes — The General ap- 
proves the Sentence, and orders it to be executed, to morrow, at 
the usual time and place. 

Such regiments whose Pay-Masters have not been named in 
General Orders, are by their Field Officers, immediately to rec- 
ommend suitable persons, to the General, for that office — Every 
Recommendation is to be signed by the Field Officers of the 
regiments who are present. 


New York, September n, 1776. 
Sir: I have received your favour by Colo. Weedon. 51 As it 
seems every day more probable that the posts at Kingsbridge 

48 Capt. Caleb Gibbs. Later, he was major, and commandant of the Commander in 
Chief's Guard; transferred to the Second Massachusetts Regiment; wounded at York- 
town, Va.; brevet lieutenant colonel at close of war. 

49 Silliman's Connecticut State regiment; Col. Robert Lewis's Pennsylvania Battalion 
of the Flying Camp; Col, John Mead's Connecticut Militia regiment; and Col. Wil- 
liam Thompson's Pennsylvania rifle regiment. 

50 Col. William Humphrey, of the Dutchess County (N. Y.) militia. 

61 Col. George Weedon, of the Third Virginia Regiment. He was Acting Adjutant 
General of the Continental Army Feb. 20, 1777; brigadier general, Continental Army, 
Feb. 27, 1777; resigned June 11, 1783. 


will be Occupied by this Army and the principal defence made 
there, I have Ordered Colo. Bradlys 52 Regiment to move from 
Bergen. As that post does not seem to be an object of the Ene- 
mys Attention, I am in doubt whether it is Necessary for you 
to replace this Regiment or leave it to the remaining Troops, as 
you best know what Number there are from your Camp at that 
post, I must leave it to you to direct a further supply or not, as 
under all Circumstances you think best and Necessary. We find 
a moving Camp will require a greater Number of Waggons 
than was expected. If Mr. Biddle 53 could engage about 50 of the 
common Country Waggons, or in proportion, of the Philadel- 
phia Teams, to go up to Burdetts ferry, it would greatly releive 
us; The Idea of impressing is very disagreeable and only to be 
adopted in case of the most urgent Necessity. The Enemy is 
taking Posts on the Islands about Hellgate, so as to make a 
landing with the greater ease and Convenience. We are en- 
deavouring to give them a suitable Reception, and hope they 
will not be able to execute their Scheme. I am &c. 


New York, September 11, 1776. 

Sir: I was yesterday honored with your favor of the 8th. in- 
stant, accompanied with sundry Resolutions of Congress, to 
which I shall pay the strictest attention, and in the Instances 
required make them the future Rule of my Conduct. 

The mode of Negociation pursued by Lord Howe, I did not 
approve of; But as General Sullivan was sent out upon the 
Business and with a Message to Congress, I could not conceive 

02 Col. Philip Burr Bradley's Connecticut State regiment. 

^Lieut. Col. Clement Biddle, deputy quartermaster general of the Flying Camp. 
He was Commissary General of Forage of the Continental Army from July, 1777, 
to June, 1780; colonel and quartermaster general of Pennsylvania from September, 
1 78 1, to close of the war. 


myself at Liberty to interfere in the matter, as he was in the 
Character of a Prisoner and totally subject to their power and 
direction. The list of Prisoners (before omitted thro' hurry) 
is now inclosed tho' it will probably have reached Congress 
before this. I shall write by the first Opportunity for Major 
Hawsaikse 54 to repair to Philadelphia, he is in the Northern 
Army and will also mention the several Appointments in con- 
sequence of Colonel Sinclair's promotion. 55 

As soon as Generals Prescott and McDonald arrive, I shall 
take measures to advise General Howe of it, that the proposed 
exchange for General Sullivan and Lord Stirling may be car- 
ried into execution. 

Since my Letter of the 8th. nothing material has occurr'd, 
except that the Enemy has possessed themselves of Montresor's 
Island, and landed a considerable Number of Troops upon it; 
this Island lies in the Mouth of Harlem River, which runs out 
of the Sound into the North River and will give the Enemy an 
easy opportunity of landing either on the low grounds of Mor- 
risania; if their views are to seize and possess the passes above 
Kingsbridge, or on the Plains of Harlem, If they design to 
intercept and cut of the communication between our several 
Posts. I am making every disposition and arrangement that 
the divided State of our Troops will admit of, and which ap- 
pear most likely and the best calculated to oppose their Attacks, 
for I presume there will be several. How the event will be God 
only knows; but you may be assured that nothing in my Power, 
circumstanced as I am, shall be wanting to effect a favorable 
and happy Issue. 

"Col. Nicholas Hausseger, of the Pennsylvania German Battalion. He had been 
major of the Fourth Pennsylvania Regiment; was taken prisoner at Princeton, N. }., 
Jan. 17, 1777, and joined the British. 

55 Arthur St. Clair, colonel of the Second Pennsylvania Battalion. He had been pro- 
moted to brigadier general, Continental Army, Aug. 9, 1776; was again promoted to 
major general Feb. 19, 1777; served to close of the war. 


By my Letter of the 8th. you will preceive, that several of the 
Council were for holding the Town, conceiving it practicable 
for some time. Many of them now, upon seeing our divided 
state, have altered their oppinion, and allow the expediency 
and necessity of concentering our whole force, or drawing it 
more together. 56 Convinced of the propriety of this Measure, 
I am ordering our Stores away, except such as may be absolutely 
necessary to keep, as long as any Troops remain, that if an 
Evacuation of the City becomes Inevitable, and which certainly 
must be the case, there may be as little to remove as possible. 

The inclosed Packet contains several Letters for particular 
Members of Congress and for some Gentlemen in Philadel- 
phia; they came to hand Yesterday and were brought from 
France by a Captain Leviz, lately arrived at Bedford in the 
Massachusetts State; I must request the favor of you to open 
the packet and to have the Letters put in a proper Channel of 
Conveyance to the Gentlemen they are addressed to. I have &c. 57 


Head Quarters, New York, September 12, 1776. 
Sir: I have been honored with your favor of the 7th. instant 
upon the Subject of Tents for this Army. That you might re- 
ceive proper information of the number wanted, I directed the 
Quarter Master General to return you an estimate, whose Office 
it is to provide them. His report you will find in the inclosed 
Letter to which I beg leave to refer you, and requesting that the 
greatest Dispatch may be used in having them made and for- 
warded. I have the Honor etc. 

56 On September u Gens. Nathanael Greene, Thomas Mifflin, John Nixon. Rezin 
Beall, Samuel Holden Parsons, James Wadsworth, and John Morin Scott addressed 
a petition to Washington to convene a council of war to reconsider the previous deci- 
sion (September 7) to hold New York City. The council was held September 12 at 
General McDougall's quarters. The petition, in Mifflin's writing, is in the Wash- 
ington Papers. 

"In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 



Head Quarters, New York, September 12, 1776. 

Dear Sir: I Yesterday evening received your favour of the 
8th Instant, with its inclosures. 

You were right, in supposing me unable to comply with 
General Gates's request; I am by no means provided to Supply 
so large a demand and am glad you transmitted his Application 
immediately to Congress. 

The papers you inclosed, but too strongly indicate the hostile 
intentions of the Indians; however, I trust if they should at- 
tempt an incursion upon the frontiers, that the force you will 
be able to oppose to 'em, will be sufficient to repel their Attacks 
and prevent their doing much mischief. 

I have delivered the returns of Boards and Plank, to the 
Quarter Master General, who will examine them and pay what- 
ever is due, as soon as proper Accounts are rendered him. As 
we shall have occasion for a great Quantity, I must request your 
Assistance in furnishing every supply in your power. Neither 
Timber or Boats will be wanted. I am exceedingly hurried by 
a Variety of Business now before me, and shall only add that 
I am etc. 


Head Quarters, New York, September 12, 1776. 
Sir: I have before me your two Letters of the 8th. and 10th. 
Instt. the first inclosing Returns of the Number of Men and Ord- 
nance and Artillery Stores at Forts Montgomery and Constitu- 
tion; the last, Copies of two Letters from the Convention of the 
State of New York, by which it appears, they had ordered in 600 
Militia, as a Reinforcement to the two posts and which I hope 
will prove Sufficient to put them in a proper State of defence. 


I ordered Colo. Knox to provide and forward the different 
Articles wanted by you in the Ordnance department, but he 
informed me, that from the present unsettled State of our Mag- 
azine and Laboratory (many of our Stores being removed and 
on their way to Kingsbridge and Mount Washington) he could 
not comply at once with the whole of the demand, but would 
send what he could conveniently collect. The Convention of 
New York, having appointed Mr. Schenk to provide what Ar- 
ticles they found wanting at their late Review of your Works 
and Stores, and which include many of the Articles you wrote 
for, I hope, as he will make it his Business, that he will collect 
many Articles which Colo. Knox, from the present hurry of 
our Affairs, cannot attend to. And if they should both provide 
the same things, your Stores will only be fuller. I have again 
ordered the Quarter Master General to send up the Nails with 
all possible Expedition. The Convention having ordered an 
Armourer with proper Tools to be fixed at your two posts, 
I hope what Arms are at present out of repair, will be soon 
made fit for Use. We must make every Shift with our old 
Arms, till we can get better Supplied. I am &c. 


Head Quarters, New York, September 12, 1776. 

Sir : I yesterday received the favor of your Letter of the 9th. 
with its several inclosures, and am extremely happy that your 
Honble. Body had anticipated my recommendation, by resolv- 
ing on an augmentation of Six hundred Men to the Garrisons 
in the Highlands; The Importance of those Posts demands the 
utmost attention and every exertion to maintain them. 

The Vessels for the removal of the Sick are not yet arrived; 
Their present Situation gives me great anxiety, as the Wind is 

1776] CARE OF SICK 49 

now favorable, I would fain hope that a Sufficient number will 
come down to day, to take in the whole; If they do not, my 
distress will be much increased. 

Genl Clinton in a Letter of the 8th., transmitted me a list 
of Artillery and Ordnance Stores wanted at Forts Montgom- 
ery and Constitution, which included the Several Articles you 
have determined to procure, except those mentioned below. 
I directed that they should be sent up, but as the Situation of 
our affairs at this time, may not perhaps admit of it; I think 
it will be prudent for Mr. Schenck 58 whom you have appointed 
an Agent in this Instance, to get all he can. Should he be 
able to obtain the Supply you have voted to be necessary, and 
Genl Clinton's demand be Complied with also, no damage 
will be done, Our Stores will not be too large. I have the 
Honor to be etc. 


Head Quarters, New York, September 12, 1776. 

Parole Franklin. Countersign Congress. 

The difficulty of procuring Milk, and other proper Food 
for the sick, has induced the General to establish an Hospital, 
where those Necessaries can be procured in plenty — The Regi- 
mental Sick are therefore to be immediately mustered for this 
purpose — One of the Hospital Surgeons will attend with the 
Regimental Surgeon — such as are able to remove themselves 
will be allowed so to do, under the care of a proper officer — 
A suitable officer, not under the Rank of a Captain, is to be 
appointed by the Brigadier, out of each Brigade, to attend such 
sick of each Brigade, as cannot remove themselves; they are, 
under the Advice of the Surgeon, who also attends, to see that 

B8 John Schenck, jr., of Poughkeepsie, N. Y. 


all proper care is taken for their comfort, while removing, 
and afterwards. 

The same Court Martial which tried Major Popst to try 
Major Hetfield, 59 charged with "Making a false Report of the 

As the care of the sick is an object of great Importance, The 
General directs, that a person, not under the Rank of a Captain, 
be also appointed in like manner, in each Brigade, who shall be 
empowered to procure Necessaries for them, and Monies fur- 
nished for that purpose; he taking care that the utmost regu- 
larity and Care be used. 

John Porter Esqr. is appointed Paymaster to Col Ward's 
Regiment, in the Continental service. 


Head Quarters, New York, September 13, 1776. 

Parole Newark. Countersign Amboy. 

Serjeant Clements, late of the General's Guard, convicted by 
a Court Martial whereof Col Malcom was Presdt., of "Remiss- 
ness of duty" — is ordered to be reduced to the ranks. The 
General approves the sentence and orders that he be sent back 
to the regiment from which he was taken. 

The visiting officer has again reported that the men from Col 
Silliman's, Col Lewis's, and Col Thompson's Regiments, go 
upon guard, deficient in Ammunition and with bad Arms — 
The General hopes the officers of those Regiments will imme- 
diately attend to it. 

Simon Learned, late Lieutenant in Learned's Regiment, 
having resigned his Commission as Lieutenant, is appointed 
Paymaster to said regiment. 

69 Maj. Moses Hatfield, of Drake's New York Militia regiment. He was captured at 
Montresors Island, N. Y., Sept. 24, 1776; exchanged in 1778; colonel of New York 
Militia, 1780-81. 


Genl. Fellow's Brigade to remove into the adjoining Out 
Houses, and raft the boards which compose their present En- 
campment, to Kingsbridge, or such part of them, as may be 
deemed necessary by him. 

A disappointment with respect to a proper place for the 
removal of the sick, in some measure vacates the Order of 
Yesterday, and the following is now to be attended to, and 
obeyed — The situation of the Army rendering it difficult to 
make that provision for the relief and support of the sick in the 
City of New-York which their cases may require — In Order 
the most speedy and effectual manner to remove the Sick to 
some place where they can be supplied with every thing neces- 
sary for them, the General directs the Surgeons of each Brigade, 
under the immediate Inspection of the Brigadiers, to examine 
the state of the sick, and to make a list of the names of such as 
they suppose can remove themselves to the Brigadier General 
of the Brigade, who is desired to send such Convalescent per- 
sons to some convenient place in the Neighbourhood of New- 
York, to be chosen by, and be under the care of, a discreet Offi- 
cer, and one of the Regimental Surgeons, who is, in the most 
prudent manner, to make the necessary provision for the recep- 
tion and support of such Convalescent Persons, who are imme- 
diately to be returned to their Regiments when their health will 
admit of their doing duty. Such as are so ill as not to be able to 
remove themselves, are to be collected under the care of another 
officer of the like Rank, in one place and notice given to the 
Director General of the Hospital, that they maybe taken proper 
care of. In each of the above cases, the superintending officer is 
permitted to lay out money, in the most frugal manner, for the 
comfortable Subsistence of his sick, which will be allowed him 
on rendering his account. 

Mr Hendrick Fisher is appointed Paymaster to Col Pres- 
cott's regiment. 


Charles Hobby Hubbard Esqr. to Col Serjeant's Regt. until 
the person arrives who is designed for that office. 


New York, September 13, 1776. 

Dr. Sir: Before this Letter can reach you, the Brigade under 
Colo. Chester's Command no doubt has reached you, but unless 
more assistance of Waggons and Teams are sent I cannot under 
take to say when you will get a further reinforcement; let me 
entreat therefore that Genl. Clinton 60 and yourself will exert 
yourselves in getting, by Impressment, or otherwise, a parcel of 
Teams to come to our Assistance. 

The Brigades which I mean to send to you are these follow- 
ing, and which I mention, that your disposition of them may 
be thought of in time, taking into consideration that Sheas, 
Magaws and Haslets, will return to their former Station at Mt. 
Washington under the immediate Comd. of their old Briga- 
dier, Mifflin, but in lieu of these Regiments, it is possible when 
we get removed from hence you may get an equivalt. number. 

R and File 
officers fit for duty 
Parsons's 400 1221 

Scott 284 963 

Wadsworth 334 1195 

Fellows 272 1122 

Silliman 367 677 

Douglas's 347 744 

Chester 513 1178 

Total 2517 7100 



'Brig. Gen. George Clinton. 


I must also beg that you will have the Vessels that go up with 
Stores &ca. immediately dispatch'd back to this place; you can- 
not conceive how we are put to it for conveniences to transport 
the Sick, the Stores, the Baggage &ca. In short we are hazard- 
ing every thing in a confused way. Let there be the most vigi- 
lant lookout kept; you know I suppose that four more Ships 
two of them 40 odd Guns are gone up the East River. I am, etc. 



New York, September 14, 1776. 

Sir: I have been duly honored with your favor of the 10th. 
with the Resolution of Congress which accompanied it, and 
thank them for the confidence they repose in my Judgment, 
respecting the evacuation of the City. I could wish to main- 
tain it, Because It is known to be of importance, But I am fully 
convinced that it cannot be done, and that an attempt for that 
purpose, if persevered in, might and most certainly would be 
attended with consequences the most fatal and alarming in 
their nature. 

Sensible of this, several of the General Officers since the de- 
termination of the Council mentioned in my last, petitioned 
that a second Council might be called to reconsider the propo- 
sitions which had been before them upon the Subject. Accord- 
ingly I called one on the 12th.; when a large Majority not only 
determined a removal of the Army, prudent but absolutely 
necessary, declaring, they were entirely convinced from a full 
and minute inquiry into our situation, that it was extremely 
perilous and from every movement of the Enemy and the Intel- 
ligence received, their plan of Operations was to get in our 
Rear, and by cutting of the Communication with the Main, 
Oblige us to force a passage thro' them, on the Terms they 


wish, or to become prisoners in some short time for want of 
necessary Supplies of Provisions. 61 We are now taking every 
Method in our Power to remove the Stores &ca. in which we 
find almost insuperable difficulties; They are so great and so 
numerous, that I fear we shall not effect the whole before we 
meet with some Interruption. I fully expected that an Attack 
some where, would have been made last night. 

In that I was disappointed and happy shall I be, If my appre- 
hension of one to Night or in a day or two, are not confirmed 
by the event. If it is deferred a while longer, I flatter myself all 
will be got away and our Force be more concentred and of 
course more likely to resist them with success. 

Yesterday Afternoon Four Ships of War two of 40 and 2 of 
28 Guns, went up the East River, passing between Governor's 
and Long Island and Anchored about a Mile above the City 
opposite Mr. Stivansents and where the Rose Man of War was 
laying before. The design of their going not being certainly 
known, gives rise to various conjectures; some supposing they 
are to cover the Landing of a part of the Enemy above the City : 
others that they are to assist in destroying our Battery on Horn's 
Hook, that they may have a free and uninterrupted navigation 
in the Sound. It is an object of great Importance to them, and 
what they are industriously trying to effect, by a pretty con- 
stant Cannonade and Bombardment. 

Before I conclude, I would beg leave to mention to Congress, 
that the pay now allowed to nurses for their attendance on the 

"The council was attended by the Commander in Chief, four major and eight brig- 
adier generals. A question as to the post to be taken by the Army at or near Kings 
Bridge, in event of the evacuation of New York City, was debated, but the record of this 
is crossed out. Joseph Reed's record of the proceedings shows that it was decided by a 
vote of 10 to 3 to reconsider the decision (September 7) not to evacuate New York, but 
notes no action beyond this point other than that 8,000 men should be left to defend 
Mount Washington. The three dissenters in the vote to reconsider the decision to evac- 
uate New York were Joseph Spencer, George Clinton, and William Heath. Ford notes 
that McDougall (Jan. 7, 1782) wrote that none were opposed to retreating from New 
York " but a fool, a /(nave and an obstinate, hottest man." The record of this council 
of war (held September 12), in Joseph Reed's writing, is in the Washington Papers. 



Sick, is by no means adequate to their services. The conse- 
quences of which is, that they are extremely difficult to procure, 
indeed they are not to be got, and we are under the necessity of 
substituting in their places, a Number of Men from the respec- 
tive Regiments, whose service by that means is entirely lost 
in the proper line of their duty and but little benefit rendered 
to the Sick. The Officers I have talked with upon the Subject, 
all agree that they should be allowed a Dollar pr. Week and 
that for less they cannot be had. 

Our Sick are extremely numerous and we find their removal 
attended with the greatest difficulty : It is a Matter that employs 
much of our time and care, and what makes it more distressing, 
is the want of proper and convenient places for their recep- 
tion; — I fear their sufferings will be great and many, However 
nothing on my part that Humanity or policy can require shall 
be wanting to make them comfortable, so far as the State of 
things will admit of. I have &ca. 62 


Head Quarters, New York, September 14, 1776. 

Parole Bristol. Countersign Roxbury. 

The Court of Inquiry on Major Hatfield, not havingbeen able 
to proceed he is released from his arrest, until they can attend. 

The General is exceedingly anxious that every Soldier should 
be well provided with Ammunition, and desires, that every 
officer will be careful to see there is no deficiency in this respect, 
as it is highly probable they may soon be called to Action. 

It is so critical a period, and so interesting to every true lover 
of his Country, that the General hopes that every officer and 
Soldier will now exert himself to the utmost — it is no time for 
ease or indulgence— the Arms of the men, the Condition of the 

62 In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 


sick, care to prevent Imposition in order to avoid danger and 
duty — Vigilance of Sentries and Guards, are all now requi- 
site — We have once found the bad consequences of a surprize; 
let the utmost Care be used to prevent another — for this pur- 
pose, the General directs that none be put out as Sentries at 
night but pick'd men; that they be visited every half hour, and 
every motion of the enemy narrowly watched. 

General Wadsworth's Brigade to furnish two Sentries upon 
the road, to prevent Waggons, in the public Service, going out 
empty, or carrying sick. 

Benjamin Haywood, late Lieutenant in the 4th Regiment, is 
appointed Paymaster to said regiment. 

Capt Brown is excused from duty, on account of his assisting 
the Quarter-Master General. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, September 16, 1776. 

Parole Bell. Countersign Maryland. 

The Arrangement for this night. 

Genl. Clinton to form next to the North River, and extend to 
the left— Genl. Scott's Brigade next to Genl. Clinton's— Lt. Col 
Sayer 63 of Col Griffith's Regt. with the three Companies in- 
tended for a reinforcement to day, to form upon the left of 
Scott's Brigade— Genl. Nixon's, Col Serjeant's division, Col 
Weedon's and Major Price's 64 Regts. are to retire to their quar- 
ters and refresh themselves, but to hold themselves in readiness 
to turn out a minute's warning— Genl McDougall to establish 
proper guards against his Brigade upon the height, and every 
Regiment posted upon the Heights, from Morris's house to 

63 Lieut.Col.HenryShryock(?),of the First Maryland Battalion of the Flying Camp. 
M Maj. Thomas Price (?), of Smallwood's Maryland regiment(P). 


Genl McDougalPs Camp, to furnish proper Guards to prevent 
a Surprise; Not less than twenty men from each regiment — 
Genl Putnam commands upon the Right-flank to night — Genl 
Spencer from McDougall's Brigade up to Morris's house — 
Should the Enemy attempt to force the pass to night, Genl. 
Putnam is to apply to Genl Spencer for a reinforcement. 


Head Quarters, at Col. Roger Morris's House, 65 

September 16, 1776. 
Sir: On Saturday about Sun set six more of the Enemy's 
Ships, (one or two of which were Men of War) passed between 
Governor's Island and Red Hook and went up the East River 
to the Station taken by those mentioned in my last. In half an 
Hour after, I received two Expresses, one from Colonel Ser- 
jeant at Horn's Hook (Hell Gate) giving an Account that the 
Enemy, to the amount of three or four Thousand, had marched 
to the River and were embarking for Barns's or Montresor's 
Island where Numbers of them then Incamped: The other 
from General Mifflin, that uncommon and formidable Move- 
ments were discovered among the Enemy, which being con- 
firmed by the Scouts I had sent out, I proceeded to Harlem, 
where it was supposed, or at Morrisania, the principal attempt 
to land would be made: However nothing remarkable hap- 
pened that Night. But in the Morning they began their opera- 
tions. Three Ships of War came up the North River, as high as 
Bloomingdale, which put a total Stop to the removal by Water 

65 Colonel Morris's house, now known as the Jumel Mansion, was built by Morris 
when he married Mary, the daughter of Frederick Philipse, of Philipse Manor, which 
comprised a large part of Westchester, Dutchess, and Putnam Counties, N. Y. Wash- 
ington had visited the Philipses on his journey to Boston in 1756. The house is on 
high and commanding ground, called Washington Heights, in the Borough of Man- 
hattan, New York, N. Y. 


of any more of our Provision &ca. and about Eleven O'clock 
those in the East River began a most severe and heavy Cannon- 
ade to scour the Grounds and cover the landing of their Troops 
between Turtle Bay and the City, where Breast Works had 
been thrown up to oppose them; as soon as I heard the firing, 
I road with all possible dispatch towards the place of landing, 
when to my great surprize and mortification, I found the 
Troops that had been posted in the Lines, retreating with the ut- 
most precipitation, and those ordered to support them, Par- 
sons's and Fellows's Brigades, flying in every direction and in 
the greatest confusion, notwithstanding the exertions of their 
Generals to form them. I used every means in my power, to 
rally and get them into some order, but my attempts were fruit- 
less and ineffectual and on the appearance of a small party of 
the Enemy, not more than Sixty or Seventy in Number, their 
disorder increased and they ran away in the greatest confusion 
without firing a single Shot. Finding that no confidence was 
to be placed in these Brigades and apprehending that another 
part of the Enemy might pass over to Harlem plains and cut of 
the retreat to this place, I sent orders to secure the Heights in the 
best manner with the Troops that were stationed on and near 
them, which being done; the retreat was effected with but little 
or no loss of Men, tho' of a considerable part of our Baggage 
occasioned by this disgraceful and dastardly conduct. 66 Most of 

""Ford quotes a "Letter from New York," Sept. 27, 1776, printed in the London 
Chronicle (Nov. 19, 1776): "I forgot to mention that Mr. Washington shortly after 
the landing on New York island, narrowly escaped being made prisoner. He left Mr. 
Apthorpe's house, at Bloomingdale, a few minutes only before the British light 
infantry entered it." Spark's quotes a letter from General Greene (September 17): 
"Fellows's and Parsons's brigades ran away from about fifty men and left his Excel- 
lency on the ground within eighty Yards of the Enemy, so vexed at the infamous 
conduct of the troops, that he sought death rather than life." The Rev. William Gor- 
don, whose history of the Revolution must always be read with recollection that the 
author's enthusiasm for America had cooled before he published his work, recounts 
the episode as he is supposed to have gleaned it from first hand in the camp shortly 
after the retreat. Col. William Smallwood states that Washington caned and whipped 
the fleeing men, though he does not state with what. Howe reported to Germain 


our Heavy cannon and a part of our Stores and Provisions, 
which we were about removing, was unavoidably left in the 
City, tho' every means, after it had been determined in Council 
to evacuate the post, had been used to prevent it. We are now 
Encamped with the Main body of the Army on the Heights of 
Harlem, where I should hope the Enemy would meet with 
a defeat in case of an Attack, If the generality of our Troops 
would behave with tolerable resolution, But, experience, to my 
extreme affliction, has convinced me that this is rather to be 
wished for than expected. However I trust that there are many 
who will act like men and shew themselves worthy of the 
blessings of Freedom. 

I have sent out some reconoitring parties to gain Intelligence 
if possible, of the disposition of the Enemy and shall inform 
Congress of every material event by the earliest Opportunity. 
I have &ca. 67 


Head Quarters, Col. Morris's, September 17, 1776. 
Sir: Some advices lately received from Powle's hook, 68 has 
made it necessary that Col. William's 69 regiment, should march 
to that post as a reinforcement to Col. Durkie ; it will be proper 
therefore they should be immedy.putin motion towards Mount 
Washington, where they are to cross. Yours, etc. 70 [ms.h.s.] 

(September 21) merely that the landing at Kips Bay was unexpected to the Americans 
and that the British cannonade was so severe that the descent was made without the 
least opposition. He made no mention of Washington. After making due allowance 
for the excited recollections on the American side, colored by the chagrin for the panic, 
the bald fact seems to be that Washington continued his efforts to check the retreat 
until the British were so close as to put him in grave jeopardy of death or capture. 

67 The following note was signed by Robert Hanson Harrison: "Sir, The above 
Letter is nearly a copy of a rough one sketched out by his Excellency this morning, 
and who intended to sign it; but having rode out and his return or where to find him 
uncertain, I have sent it away without and have the honor, &c." 

68 Now Jersey City, N.J. 

89 Col. John(?) Williams, of the New York Militia. 

70 In the writing of William Grayson. 



Head Quarters, Colo. Morris's House, 
September 17, 1776. 

Sir: I recd.the honor of your favor of the 6th.Inst.,by Messrs. 
Collins, Babcok,and Stanton, 71 and should have acknowledged 
it before now, had I not been prevented by the peculiar Situation 
of our Affairs. 

I communicated my Sentiments to those Gentlemen, upon 
the Subject of your Letter and the several propositions that 
were before us; who, I doubt not, will make a full and due 
Report of the same to you and your Honble. Assembly: how- 
ever, I shall take the liberty of adding, that the divided State of 
our Army, which, when collected in one body, is inferior to that 
of the Enemy — their having landed almost the whole of their 
force on Long Island, and formed a plan for cutting off all Com- 
munication between that and the City of New York, which we 
had but too good reason to believe practicable and easy to Effect 
with their Ships of War, made it necessary and prudent to with- 
draw our Troops from the former, that our chance of resistance 
and opposition might be more probable and likely to be attended 
with a happy Issue. 

I feel myself much concerned on Account of your Appre- 
hensions for the Town of New Port and the Island of Rhode 
Island; and should esteem myself peculiarly happy, were it 
in my Power to afford means for their Security and that of 
the State in General, or to point out such Measures as would 
be effectual for that Purpose. But, Circumstanced as I am, it 
is not Possible for me to grant any Assistance; nor can I, with 
propriety, undertake to prescribe the mode, which will best 

M John Collins, Joshua Babcock, and Joseph Stanton, a committee of the Rhode 
Island Assembly appointed to confer with Washington. 


promote their defence. This must depend on such a Variety 
of Circumstances, that I shou'd suppose you and the Assembly, 
who are in the State, will be much more Competent to the task; 
than what I, or any person out of it, can be; and, therefore, I can 
only recommend, that you will pursue such Steps as you, in 
your Judgment, shall think most conducive to that end; ob- 
serving that it appears to me a Matter of extreme difficulty (if 
Practicable), to prevent the Enemy's Ships doing damage to 
every Island accessible to them, unless the passes, between them 
and the Main, are so Narrow, as to oblige them to come very 
near such Batteries, as may be erected for their Annoyance, on 
commanding Ground. 

I cannot sufficiently express my thanks, for the readiness you 
and your Assembly manifested in ordering Troops &c. to Long 
Island, on hearing of my request to Govr. Trumbull upon that 
Subject. At the time that I made it, I conceived the plan of 
much Importance, and that many Valuable and Salutary Con- 
sequences might have resulted from it; but as things have 
undergone a Material Change since, it may not be improper 
to consider and be Satisfied of some facts, which ought to be 
clearly known, previous to any Attempt to carry it into Execu- 
tion and on which the Success of it will greatly depend: Such, 
as an intire Conviction of the friendly disposition of the Inhab- 
itants of the Island; the Number that would join the Troops 
that might be sent over; The lengths they would go; The Sup- 
port they would and can give and whether a retreat from 
thence could be safely effected in case it should be necessary. 
These Matters and others which a more Minute Consideration 
of the Plan, will present to your View, should be well weighed 
and digested and which I thought it my duty to mention, espe- 
cially as the scheme had originated with me. My Anxiety and 
Concern for the Inhabitants at the East end of Long Island, 


who have been represented always as friendly and well attached 
to the cause of the States, prompt me to wish them every Assist- 
ance; but if the efforts you could make in conjunction with 
Govr. Trumbull, would not promise almost a Certainty of 
Success, perhaps they might tend to aggravate their Misfor- 
tunes. The Committee stated sundry propositions respecting 
this Expedition; such as if any thing was attempted, where a 
stand should be made ? This must be left to the discretion of 
those who Command, nor can I spare an Officer for that pur- 
pose nor recommend one. what Number of Men should be 
sent and what proportion from the Massachusetts ? The Num- 
ber necessary will depend upon the force they will have to 
oppose and the Assistance they would derive from the Islanders. 
The proportion from the Massachusetts on the Will of the Leg- 
islature or Voluntary Engagement of the People, in the Service. 
What Artillery they should have ? I am of Opinion the Artil- 
lery would be Subject to Loss without any great advantage 
resulting from it. They also asked whether any frigates should 
be sent &c. ? As the Enemy have now the free and intire Com- 
mand of the Sound, and many Ships of War in it, they will be 
much more liable to be taken, than they would have been some 
time ago and when it was proposed by Govr. Trumbull to 
make an attempt upon the Ships above Hell Gate; In this In- 
stance however I do not conceive myself at liberty to say any 
thing peremptory one way or other, having no power over 
the Frigates. 

I am sensible of the force of your Observation, that the Com- 
mon Cause might be benefited by the several States receiving 
early and Authentic Intelligence of every material occurrence, 
permit me at the same time to assure you, that I often regret my 
Incapacity in this Instance and that the neglect does not arise 
from want of Inclination or thro' Inattention; but from the 


variety of important Matters, that are always pressing upon and 
which daily surround me. Before I conclude, I shall take this 
Opportunity to inform you, that having received certain Infor- 
mation that the Enemy's plan was to pass from Long Island and 
land in our rear with their Army ; to cut off all Communication 
with the Country and for which they were making every pos- 
sible disposition; a Council of General Officers determined last 
Week, on a Removal of the Army from the City, in order to pre- 
vent the fatal Consequences which must inevitably ensue, if they 
could have executed their Scheme: resolving at the same time, 
that every appearance of defence should be kept up, till our Sick, 
Ordnance and Stores could be removed. This was set about with 
the greatest Industry and as to the Sick was compleatly effected, 
but on Sunday Morning before we had accomplished the re- 
moval of all our Cannon, Provision and Baggage * * *. 72 
This Scandalous Conduct occasioned a loss of several Tents and 
other Baggage which would have been easily secured. The re- 
mainder of the Troops that were in the City got out, and the 
Retreat of the whole was effected with the loss of but very few 
Men,notmore than three orfour that I have heard of were made 
Prisoners, and only one or two killed. I am now Encamped on 
the Heights above mentioned which are so well Calculated for 
defence, that I should hope, if the Enemy make an attack and 
our Men will behave with tolerable Resolution, they must meet 
with a Repulse, if not a total defeat. They advanced in sight 
yesterday in several large Bodies, but attempted nothing of a 
General Nature; Tho' in the forenoon there were some smart 
Skirmishes between some of their parties and detachments sent 
out by me ; In which I have the pleasure to inform you our Men 
behaved with bravery and Intrepidity, putting them to flight 

"The omitted portion is practically a duplication of the information in Washing- 
ton's letter to Congress of the panic at Kips Bay. (See Washington's letter to Con- 
gress, Sept. 1 6, 1776, ante.) 


when in open Ground and forcing them from Posts they had 
seized, two or three times. From some of their Wounded Men 
which fell into our hands, the appearance of Blood in every 
place where they made their Stand and on the Fences as they 
passed, we have reason to believe they had a good many Killed 
and Wounded ; tho' they did not leave many on the ground. In 
number our loss was very inconsiderable, but in the fall of Lieut. 
Col Knowlton, 73 1 consider it as great, being a brave and good 
Officer, and it may be increased by the Death of Major Leitch 74 
of the Virginia Regiment, who unfortunately received three 
Balls thro' his side. Having given you a Summary Account of 
the Situation of our affairs and in such Manner as Circumstances 
will admit of; I have only to add, that I have the honor to be &c. 
P. S. The Committee have expressed their apprehensions of 
being obliged to abandon the Island of Rhode Island and New 
Port, and requested my opinion, at present I can see no Cause 
for it, and the propriety of the Measure must depend upon Cir- 
cumstances; But I should suppose they ought to be very press- 
ing and the Necessity great, before they ought to be given up, 
most certainly no imaginary Ills or Necessity should lead to 
such a Measure. At this time the danger can only be Ideal and 
if the Enemy persevere in their Plans, and our Men behave as 
they should do, I am persuaded they will not have an oppor- 
tunity to employ their Attention else where this Campaign. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, September 17, 1776. 
Parole Leitch. Countersign Virginia. 
The General most heartily thanks the troops commanded 
Yesterday, by Major Leitch, who first advanced upon the 

73 Lieut. Col. Thomas Knowlton, of the Twentieth Continental Infantry. 
74 Maj. Andrew Leitch, of the Third Virginia Regiment. He died of his wounds 
Oct. 1, 1776. 

(/ (f j £: 

/■■■ ■ / 


/^Zyi<?,j ^l&^n^^ftSxg-^ 


■?~ridsi — — — 


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Return of Killed and" Missing in the Nineteenth Continental Infantry, 
November 23, 1776 


enemy, and the others who so resolutely supported them — The 
Behaviour of Yesterday was such a Contrast, to that of some 
Troops the day before, as must shew what may be done, where 
Officers and Soldiers will exert themselves — Once more there- 
fore, the General calls upon officers, and men, to act up to the 
noble cause in which they are engaged, and to support the Honor 
and Liberties of their Country. 

The gallant and brave Col Knowlton, who would have been 
an Honor to any Country, having fallen yesterday, while glo- 
riously fighting, Capt Brown 75 is to take the Command of the 
party lately led by Col Knowlton — Officers and men are to obey 
him accordingly. 

The Loss of the Enemy yesterday, would undoubtedly have 
been much greater, if the Orders of the Commander in Chief had 
not in some instances been contradicted by inferior officers, who, 
however well they may mean, ought not to presume to direct — 
It is therefore ordered, that no officer, commanding a party, and 
having received Orders from the Commander in Chief, depart 
from them without Counter Orders from the same Authority; 
And as many may otherwise err through Ignorance, the Army 
is now acquainted that the General's Orders are delivered by 
the Adjutant General, or one of his Aid's-De-Camp, Mr.Tilgh- 
man, or Col. Moylan the Quarter Master General. 

Brigade Majors are to attend at Head Quarters, every day at 
twelve O'clock, and as soon as possible to report where their 
several Brigades and Regiments are posted. If many regiments 
have not been relieved, for want of the attendance of their Bri- 
gade Majors for Orders; It is therefore the Interest and Duty 
of every Brigadier to see that his Brigade Major attends at 
twelve O'Clock at Noon, and five in the afternoon; and they 
are to be careful to make the Adjutants attend them every day. 

75 Capt. Stephen Brown, of the Twentieth Continental Infantry. He was transferred 
to the Fourth Connecticut Regiment and was killed at Fort Mifflin, Delaware River, 
Nov. 15, 1777. 


The several Major and Brigadier Generals are desired to 
send to Head-Quarters an Account of the places where they 
are quartered. 

Until some general Arrangement for duty can be fixed, each 
Brigade is to furnish Guards, who are to parade at their respec- 
tive Brigadier's quarters, in such proportions as they shall direct. 

Such Regiments as have expended their Ammunition, or are 
otherwise deficient, are immediately to be supplied, by apply- 
ing to the Adjutant General for an Order — but the Regiment 
is to be first paraded, and their Ammunition examined, the 
commanding officer is then to report how such deficiency 
has happened. 


Head Quarters, Col. Morris's, September 18, 1776. 

Sir: I have now your letter of Sept. 18th. before me; and 
cannot say that I, by any means approve of your proposal of 
sending artillery to annoy the frigate, and the Enemy's bat- 
teries on Montrasure's Island; in my opinion, it would only 
endanger the loss of our cannon and waste our ammunition, 
without answering any one good or salutary purpose. 

With respect to the sick, I am as much afflicted at their situa- 
tion as you or any other person can possibly be, and have taken 
every step in my power to prevent it; I have furnish'd money 
to officers chosen by the commanders of different regiments, 
for the purpose of providing suitable and proper accommo- 
dations for the convalescents, and as to the others I have this 
morning spoke to Doctor McKnight 76 on the subject and have 
recommended in the strongest manner to him to fall upon 

76 Dr. Charles McKnight, surgeon, Pennsylvania Battalion of the Flying Camp. He 
was surgeon general, Middle Department, February, 1778, and chief hospital physi- 
cian from October, 1780, to January, 1782. 


every method the nature of the case will admit of for their 
relief; and I request you will give him every assistance in your 
power towards effecting this salutary end : 

I have ordered over to you, Parson's, Scott's and Sergents 
brigades, to which will be added Col. Ward's regiment, and 
Haslett's, Shee's, McGaw's and Atlee's battalions are to come 
to this place; you will post these brigades in the most advan- 
tageous manner; for the present I do not conceive you are in 
any great danger of being attacked on that quarter, as I have 
received intelligence that the enemy have drawn over their 
principal force to this Island. lam, etc. 77 [ms.h.s.] 


Head Quarters, Col. Roger Morris's House, 

September 18, 1776. 

Sir: As my Letter of the 16th. contained Intelligence of an 
important Nature, and such as might lead Congress to expect, 
that the Evacuation of New York and retreat to the Heights of 
Harlem in the manner they were made, would be succeeded 
by some other interesting event, I beg leave to inform them, 
that as yet nothing has been attempted upon a large and general 
plan of Attack. 

About the time of the post's departure with my Letter, the 
Enemy appeared in several large Bodies upon the plains, about 
two and a half Miles from hence; I rode down to our advanced 
posts to put matters in a proper Situation, if they should attempt 
to come on : When I arrived there, I heard a firing which I was 
informed was between a party of our Rangers under the Com- 
mand of Lieutenant Colonel Knolton and an advanced party 
of the Enemy. Our Men came in and told me, that the Body of 

"In the writing of William Grayson. 


the Enemy, who kept themselves concealed, consisted of about 
three hundred as near as they could guess; I immediately or- 
dered three Companies of Colonel Weedon's Regiment from 
Virginia, under the Command of Major Lietch and Colonel 
Knolton with his Rangers, composed of Volunteers from dif- 
ferent New England Regiments, to try to get in their Rear, 
while a Disposition was making as if to attack them in front 
and thereby draw their whole attention that way. This took 
effect as I wished on the part of the Enemy. On the appearance 
of our party in front they immediately ran down the Hill, took 
possession of some fences and Bushes and a smart firing began, 
but at too great a distance to do much execution either side. 
The Parties under Colonel Knolton and Maj or Leitch unluckily 
began their Attack too soon, it was rather in flank than in Rear. 
In a little time Major Leitch was brought off wounded, having 
received three Balls thro' his side, and in a short time after 
Col: Knowlton got a Wound, which proved Mortal. 

Their Men however persevered and continued the Engage- 
ment with the greatest Resolution. Finding that they wanted 
a support, I advanced part of Colo: Griffith's and Colo: Rich- 
ardson's 78 Maryland Regiments, with some Detachments from 
the Eastern Regiments, who were nearest the place of Action. 
Those Troops charged the Enemy with great Intrepedity and 
drove them from the Wood into the plain, and were pushing 
them from thence (having silenced their Fire in a great meas- 
ure), when I judged it prudent to order a retreat, fearing the 
Enemy (as I have since found was really the case) were send- 
ing a large Body to support their party. Major Leitch, I am 
in hopes, will recover but Col: Knolton's fall is much to be 
regretted, as that of a brave and good Officer. We had about 

78 Col. William Richardson and Col. Charles Greenberry Griffith, of the Maryland 
regiments of the Flying Camp. He resigned in October, 1779. 


forty wounded, the Number of Slain is not yet ascertained, but 
it is very inconsiderable. 

By a Serjeant who deserted from the Enemy and came in 
this Morning, I find that their party was greater than I imag- 
ined. It consisted of the 2d. Battalion of Light Infantry, a Bat- 
talion of the Royal Highlanders and three Companies of the 
Hessian Rifle Men, under the command of Brigadier General 
Leslie. 79 The Deserter reports that their Loss in wounded and 
missing was 89. and 8 killed. In the latter his Account is too 
small, as our people discovered and buried double that Num- 
ber. This Affair I am in hopes will be attended with many 
salutary consequences, as it seems to have greatly inspirited the 
whole of our Troops. The Serjeant further adds, that a consid- 
erable body of Men are now encamped from the East to the 
North River, between the 7 and 8 Mile Stones, under the Com- 
mand of General Clinton. 80 General Howe he believes has his 
Quarters at Mr. Apthorp's House. 81 I have the Honor to be etc. 

P. S. I should have wrote Congress by Express before now, 
had I not expected the post every Minute, which I flatter my- 
self will be a sufficient Apology for my delaying it. The late 
losses we have sustained in our Baggage and Camp Necessaries 
have added much to our distress which was very great before, 
I must therefore take the liberty of requesting Congress to 

79 Brig. Gen. Alexander Leslie. 

80 Sir Henry Clinton. 

Apthorp's house was due west of Hell Gate but nearer the Hudson River. Howe's 
report to Lord Germain (September 21) gives the British version: "On the 16th, 
in the morning, a large party of the enemy having passed under cover of the 
woods, near to the advanced posts of the army by way of Vandewater's Height, the 2d 
and 3d battalions of light infantry, supported by the 4 2d regiment, pushed forward 
and drove them back to their intrenchments, from whence the enemy observing they 
were not in force attacked them with near 3,000 men, which occasioned the march 
of the reserve with two field, pieces, a battalion of Hessian grenadiers, and the com- 
pany of chasseurs, to prevent the corps engaged from being surrounded who repulsed 
the enemy with considerable loss, and obliged them to retire within their works. . . . 
We had eight officers wounded, most of them slightly, fourteen men killed, and about 
seventy wounded." 


have forwarded, as soon as possible, such a supply of Tents, 
Blankets, Camp Kettles and other Articles as can be collected. 
We cannot be over stocked. 82 


Head Quarters, Col. Morriss's, September 18, 1776. 
Sir: The inconveniences Col. Baldwin's 84 regiment must of 
necessity be exposed to, for the want of tents, is a circumstance 
I can only lament but cannot remedy; to supply them from this 
place is altogether out of my power, as one half of the brigades 
from here are in the same situation; all I can say on the subject 
is to recommend to you, the building of huts in the most con- 
venient manner the nature of the case will admit of, to answer 
the present purpose, until proper barracks can be erected; 
where these huts are to be placed, as also the propriety of con- 
tinuing your present encampment so far distant from the ferry 
as a mile and a half, will be determined upon the spot by Gen. 
Green and yourself; he is gone to visit your quarters to day. 
I am, etc. 85 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, September 18, 1776. 

Parole Jersey. Countersign Newport. 

The Brigade Majors are immediately to settle a Court Mar- 
tial for the trial of prisoners; to meet at the white house near 
Head Quarters. 

Commanding Officers of regiments, and all other officers, are 
charged in the strictest manner, to prevent all plundering, and 

82 In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 

83 Of the Fourteenth Continental Infantry. 

84 Col. Loammi Baldwin, of the Twenty-sixth Continental Infantry. 
80 The text is from the Toner Transcripts in the Library of Congress. 


to seize every Soldier carrying Plunder, whether belonging to 
the same regiment or not, or on whatever pretence it is taken, 
and the General positively commands, that such Plunderer be 
immediately carried to the next Brigadier or commanding offi- 
cer of a regiment, who is instantly to have the offender whipped 
on the spot. 

The Regimental Surgeons are to take care of their own Sick 
for the present, until the General Hospital can be established 
on a proper footing — They are to keep as near their Regiments 
as possible, and in case of Action to leave their Sick under the 
care of their Mates, and be at hand to assist the wounded. 

Under the pretence of ranging or scouting, the greatest irreg- 
ularities and excesses have been committed, the General there- 
fore forbids in the most express manner, any such parties, but 
by his leave, or of the Brigadier General of the day in writing 
and then always to be under the direction of an officer — The 
General does not mean to discourage patrolling and scouting 
Parties, when properly regulated, on the other hand he will be 
pleased with, and accept the services of any good officers, who 
are desirous of being thus employed, and will distinguish them. 

Genl. Parsons, Genl. Scott's and Col Sergeant's Brigades are 
to march over Kingsbridge and take General Heath's Orders 
for encamping — Col Shee, Magaw, Haslett, and the regiment 
under Col Brodhead, 86 are to return to Mount Washington, and 
be under the immediate Care of Genl Mifflin. 

Col Wards Regiment from Connecticut, may for the present, 
be annexed to the Brigade commanded by Col. Serjeant. 

Genl Mifflin's, McDougall's, Heard's, Wadsworth's, and Fel- 
low's Brigades, and the Brigades under the Command of Cols. 
Silliman and Douglass, are to have each a Regiment in the Field 
this evening, by Mr. Kartright's house. 

88 Col. Daniel Brodhead, of the Eighth Pennsylvania Regiment. 



Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, September 19, 1776. 

Parole Hancock. Countersign Warren. 

The Companies from Maryland, under the Command of 
Major Price, are to join Col Smallwood's Battalion, and Genl 
McDougalPs Brigade; and it is expected that the commanding 
Officer of every Corps will, together with all the officers therein, 
exert themselves in seeing good Order and Discipline observed. 
They are to consider that it is the duty of a good Officer to see, 
or at least to know that Orders are executed, and not to content 
themselves with being the mere Vehicles thro' which they are 
conveyed to the men — We are now arrived at an important 
Crisis, which calls loudly for the Zeal and Activity of the best 
of Officers — We see, We know that the Enemy are exerting 
every Nerve, not only byforce of Arms,but the practices of every 
Art, to accomplish their purposes; And that among other pieces 
of Policy which is also founded on Justice, We find them ex- 
ceeding careful to restrain every kind of abuse of private Prop- 
erty, whilst the abandoned and profligate part of our own Army, 
countenanced by a few officers, who are lost to every Sense of 
Honor and Virtue, as well as their Country's Good, are by Rap- 
ine and Plunder, spreading Ruin and Terror wherever they go; 
thereby making themselves infinitely more to be dreaded than 
the common Enemy they are come to oppose; at the same time 
that it exposes Men who are strolling about after plunder to be 
surpriz'd and taken. The General therefore hopes it will be un- 
necessary, on any future Occasion, for him to repeat the Orders 
of yesterday, with respect to this matter, as he is determined to 
shew no Favor to officer, or soldier, who shall offend herein, 
but punish without exception, every person who shall be found 
guilty of this most abominable practice, which if continued, 
must prove the destruction of any Army on earth. 


That the men may be acquainted with the Orders relative to 
plundering, as well as others; the Neglect of which will incur 
Blame or Punishment, the General directs and positively or- 
ders, that every commanding Officer of a Corps, takes special 
Care; that the Orders are regularly read to the men every day. 

Genl Nixon, with his Brigade, is to remove over to the Jersey, 
and will receive his orders from Genl Green, with respect to 
his encamping &c — . Such men of his Brigade as are now on 
duty must be relieved. 

The Picquet Guards which are to occupy the Out Posts most 
advanced to the enemy, are to consist of 800 Men officer'd with 
2 Cols., 2 L Cols., 2 Majors, and Captains and Subalterns in 
proportion — they are to be furnished by Detachment from 
the several Brigades below Kingsbridge, and so every day 'till 
further orders. 


Head Quarters, at Col: Roger Morris's, 
September 19, 1776. 
Sir : Since I had the honor of addressing you Yesterday, noth- 
ing material has occurred; However it is probable in a little 
time, the Enemy will attempt to force us from hence, as we 
are informed they are bringing many of their heavy Cannon 
towards the Heights and the Works we have thrown up : They 
have also Eight or nine Ships of War in the North River, which 
It is said are to Canonade our right Flank, when they open their 
Batteries against our Front. Every disposition is making on our 
part for defence, and Congress may be assured, that I shall do 
all in my power to maintain the post, so long as it shall appear 
practicable and conducive to the general good. I have &ca. 87 

87 In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 



Head Quarters, September 19, 1776. 
Sir: I have the honor to advise you, that in consequence of 
General Sullivan's Information, first by Letter and afterwards 
verbally, that you were willing to exchange him for Major 
General Prescott, and Brigadier Genl. Lord Sterling for any 
Brigadier of yours in our possession: I wrote to Congress to 
send General Prescott to some convenient place, from whence 
the proposed Exchange might be made. And supposing that 
it would be agreeable to exchange Lord Sterling for Brigadier 
General McDonald, he is also come forward with General Pres- 
cott. Both these Gentlemen are now at Elizabeth Town, and 
I only wait your Answer to this, in which you will please to fix 
the Time and place, when and where the Exchange may be 
effected. lam, etc. 88 


Head Quarters, at Colo. Morris's House, 
10 Miles from New York, September 19, 1776. 
Sir : The Honourable Assembly of the State of the Massachu- 
sets Bay having informed me, by Letter of the 13th. Instt., that 

88 Howe answered on September 21. He agreed to exchange Sullivan for Prescott 
but demurred at Stirling for McDonald, as the latter was only a major in rank. Howe 
proposed instead Gov. Montfort Browne. Gen. Donald McDonald, of the Royal High- 
land Emigrants, had been captured by Col. Richard Caswell, of the North Carolina 
Militia, the day after the action at Moores Creek Bridge, in North Carolina, Febru- 
ary 27. He was exchanged Dec. 3, 1776. The last paragraph of Howe's letter recited: 
" My Aid de Camp charged with the Delivery of this Letter will present to you a Ball 
cut and fixed to the Ends of a Nail, taken from a Number of the same Kind, found 
in the Encampments quitted by your Troops on the 15th Instant. I do not make any 
Comments upon such unwarrantable and malicious Practices, being well assured the 
Contrivance has not come to your Knowledge." Howe's letter is in the Washington 

^The "Letter Book" copy addresses this to the commanding officer of the First 
Division of Massachusetts Militia. 


they have Ordered a Number of Militia to reinforce the Army 
under my Command, and requested my Orders for their Desti- 
nation; I therefore request, that you will give direction, that 
the whole of them may be brought forward, as expeditiously 
as they can; sending before you, when you get within three or 
four days march of Kingsbridge, an Officer to receive Instruc- 
tions from me, how they are to be Stationed and disposed of. 
It will be proper, to send Notice of this to the Officers who are 
behind you with part of the Men, that they may know how to 
conduct themselves. I am &c. 


Head Quarters, Colo. Roger Morris's House, 
10 Miles from New York, September 19, 1776. 

Gentn. : I was honored the Night before last, with your favor 
of the 13th. Inst.; and at the same time that I conceive your 
anxiety to have been great, by reason of the vague and uncertain 
Accts. you received respecting the Attack on Long Island, give 
me leave to assure you that the Situation of our Affairs and the 
Important concerns which have surrounded me, and which 
are daily pressing on me, have prevented me, from transmit- 
ting in many Instances, the Intelligence I otherwise should 
have conveyed. 

In respect to the Attack and retreat from long Island, the 
Public papers will furnish you with Accounts nearly true. 
I shall only add, that in the former we lost about 800 Men; 
more than three fourths of which were taken Prisoners. This 
Misfortune happened in great Measure, by two Detachments 
of our people, who were posted in two Roads leading thro' a 
Wood, in order to intercept the Enemy in their March, suffer- 
ing a Surprise and making a precipitate retreat; which enabled 


the Enemy to lead a great part of their force against the Troops 
Commanded by Lord Stirling which formed a third detach- 
ment, who behaved with great Bravery and Resolution, charg- 
ing the Enemy, and maintaining their Posts from about Seven 
or Eight O'Clock in the Morning, 'till two in the afternoon; 
When they were Obliged to Attempt a retreat, being surrounded 
and overpowred by Numbers on all Sides, and in which many 
of them were taken, one Battalion, Smallwoods of Maryland, 
lost 259 Men and the general damage fell upon the Regiments 
from Pennsylvania Delaware and Maryland and Col Hunting- 
don's of Connecticut. As to the Retreat from the Island, it was 
effected without loss of Men and with but very little Baggage; 
a few heavy Cannon were left, not being Movable, on Account 
of the Grounds being soft and miry, thro' the Rains that had 
fallen. The Enemy's loss, in killed we could never ascertain, 
but have many reasons to believe that it was pretty consider- 
able, and exceeded ours a good deal. The Retreat from thence 
was Absolutely Necessary, The Enemy having landed the Main 
body of their Army there to attack us in front, while their Ships 
of War were to cut off the Communication with the City, from 
whence resources of Men, Provisions &ca. were to be drawn. 

Having made this Retreat, and long after, we discovered by 
their Movements and the Information we reed from deserters 
and others, that they declined attacking our Lines in the City and 
were forming a Plan to get in our Rear with their land Army, 
by crossing the Sound above us, and thereby cut off all inter- 
course with the Country and every Necessary Supply. The Ships 
of War were to co-operate, Possess the North River and prevent 
Succour from the Jerseys &c. This Plan appearing probable and 
but too practicable in its execution; it became Necessary to 
guard against the fatal Consequences that must follow, if their 
Scheme was effected, for which purpose I caused a removal of 
a Part of our Stores, Troops &c from the City; and a Council 


of General Officers determined on thursday last, that it must be 
intirely abandoned, holding up however every Shew and ap- 
pearance of defence, till our Sick and all our Stores could be 
brought away. The Evacuation being resolved on, every exer- 
tion in our power was made, to baffle their design and effect our 
own. The Sick were Numerous and an object of great Impor- 
tance, happily we got them away; but before we could bring off 
all our Stores, on Sunday Morning Six or Seven Ships of War, 
which had gone up the East River some few days before, began 
a most severe and heavy Cannonade. * * #9 ° 

The Retreat was effected with the loss of three or four Men 
only. We encamped and still are on the Heights of Harlem, 
which are well calculated for defence against their approaches, 
on Monday Morning they advanced in Sight in Several large 
Bodies, but attempted nothing of a General Nature ; Tho' there 
were smart Skirmishes between their advanced parties and some 
Detachments from our Lines which I sent out; In these our 
Troops behaved with great Resolution and Bravery, putting 
them to flight in open Ground and forcing them from posts 
they had Seized two or three times. A Serjeant who deserted 
from them, Says, the Report was, they had 89 Missing and 
Wounded, and Eight Killed, in the last Instance his Account 
is too Small, because our People have buried more than twice 
as Many. In Number our Loss was very inconsiderable, but in 
the fall of Lieut Colo. Knowlton of Connecticut, I consider it as 
great, being a brave and good Officer. Major Leitch who Com- 
manded a detachment from the Virginia Regiment, unfortu- 
nately received three Balls thro' his side, he still supports his 
Spirits and seems as if he would do well. Colo Knowlton was 
Interred with every honor due to his Merit and that the Situa- 
tion of things would admit of. Since this affair, nothing has 

00 The omitted portion is a repetition of the account of the Kips Bay affair. (See 
Washington's letter to Congress, Sept. 16, 1776, ante.) 


happened. The Enemy, it is said, are bringing forward several 
Heavy Cannon to force us from the Heights. At the same time 
that they open their Batteries in front, their Ships of War, Seven 
or Eight of which are in the North River, are to Cannonade our 
right Flank. Thus have I run over, in a cursory rough way, an 
Account of the most material Events from the Battle on Long 
Island to the present moment. I have not time to study order or 
Elegance. This however I do not so much mind, and only wish 
my Narrative was more agreeable. But we must set down things 
as they are. I hope they will be better : Nothing on my part shall 
be wanting to bring about the most favorable Events. 

I am now to make my most grateful Acknowledgments to 
your Honble. Body, for the succour they meant to afford me in 
the Militia lately Ordered to March; and have only to lament, 
that they should be so unprovided with Tents and other Camp 
Necessaries. Our Distresses in these Instances are extremely 
great, having by no means a Sufficiency for the Troops already 
here, nor do I know how they can be procured. I am at a loss 
for the Officers Names who Command this Reinforcement as 
they are not Mentioned. However, I have wrote by Fessenden, 
that they should lead the Men on as fast as possible, sending 
before them, when they get within one or two days March of 
King's Bridge, an Officer to receive Orders from me, How they 
are to be disposed of. Instructions given now, might become 
improper, by the Intervention of a Variety of Circumstances. 
I have the honor to be &c. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, September 20, 1776. 

Parole Spain. Countersign France. 

As many of the Regiments that came last from New York 
have lost their Tents and cooking Utensils (not from any de- 
fault of their own, but want of teams, and vessels, to bring them 


of in time) by which means one part of the Army are greatly 
distressed, whilst the other part are comfortably supplied; the 
General earnestly advises and directs the Colonels and com- 
manding Officers of such Corps as have not suffered, to store 
their men thicker in their tents, and lend all they can spare, 
to their suffering fellow-soldiers, 'till such time as others can be 
provided — The tents &c are to be sent to Genl. Spencer's, at 
Mr. Kartright's house, 91 who will cause them to be delivered 
to the Regiments standing most in need of them, which Regi- 
ments are to be answerable for them when called for. 

The General hopes, that soldiers fighting in such a cause as 
ours, will not be discouraged by any difficulties that may offer; 
and informs them that the Grounds he now possesses are to be 
defended at all events; Any Officer, or Soldier therefore, who 
(upon the Approach, or Attack of the Enemy's Forces, by land 
or water) presumes to turn his back and flee, shall be instantly 
Shot down, and all good officers are hereby authorized and re- 
quired to see this done, that the brave and gallant part of the 
Army may not fall a sacrifice to the base and cowardly part, or 
share their disgrace in a cowardly and unmanly Retreat. The 
Heights we are now upon may be defended against double the 
force we have to contend with, and the whole Continent ex- 
pects it of us : But that we may assist the natural Strength of the 
ground, as much as possible, and make our Posts more secure, 
the General most earnestly recommends it to the commanding 
Officers of every Brigade, and Regiment, to turn out every man 
they have off duty, for fatigue, and apply to Col Putnam for 
tools, and directions where and how to work — This Measure is 
also earnestly recommended to the men, as it will tend greatly 
to their own security and ease, as the Guards will be lessened 
in proportion as the grounds get strengthened. 

91 Cartright's was on the Albany road about one-half mile northwest of Cortlandt's 


Genl Green is to appoint some careful officer at Burdett's 
ferry to examine passengers, and see that none come over but 
such as have proper passes — Genl. Mifflin is to do the same 
on this side, to prevent disaffected, or suspected persons, from 
passing — If Capt. Johnson, and the other Gentlemen who were 
employed in this business, at New-York, incline to engage in 
it again, they are to have the preference given them. 

The Colonels, or commanding officers of the Militia Regi- 
ments, now in the service, may make out their Pay- Abstracts 
in order to receive payment — they will be particularly atten- 
tive in doing it, as the disorderly manner, in which many of 
those men, have left the service, will require the utmost care, 
toprevent impositions on the public; And the Congress having 
resolv'd, that all Continental Troops and the Militia going home 
from service shall restore all Continental Arms, and other prop- 
erty; and also all Ammunition remaining in their possession, 
at the time of their being about to return, or to have the value 
of it deducted. 

The Guards will be relieved at four O'clock this Afternoon, 
after which they are to be relieved constantly and regularly at 
Nine O'clock every day. 

The General desires that the Brigade Majors may attend 
him precisely at seven O'clock to morrow morning, and ac- 
count for the remissness in their several departments, as he is 
determined to put up with no more negligence in office — He 
expects the punctual attendance of the whole. 

Genl Wadsworth must look out a good person to do the 
duty of his brigade. 

Commanding and other Officers of Regiments, are to collect 
the horses straying about their Encampments, and send them 
to the Quarter-Master General or one of his Deputies — the 
Uses these horses may answer when properly employed, will 
be an inducement to every officer to exert himself. 


The officers of the Guard at Kingsbridge to be careful, that 
no Soldiers take horses over the bridge, tho' such Soldier should 
have a common pass. Every person riding without a saddle, is 
to be immediately taken up, and the horse sent to the Quarter 
Master 'till released by further Orders — 

The scarcity of Fodder makes it necessary that no horses 
should come into Camp, but what belong to the Army; All 
Visitants therefore are to leave their horses beyond the Bridge, 
unless they obtain a special Order from some General Officer, 
or Commandant of a Brigade. 

Genl. Bell, 92 Brigadier of the day, to meet the Guards at four 
O'clock, on the parade, and report immediately, what Brigade 
Major fails of bringing his proportion of Guards, at the time. 


Head Quarters Colo. Roger Morris's, 

10 Miles from New York, September 20, 1776. 

Sir : I have your several favors of the 9th. 12th. and 16th Instt. 
with their inclosures. I am particularly happy to find by the 
Copies of General Arnold's and Colo. Dayton's Letters, that 
your apprehensions of an Indian War in your Quarter have 
entirely vanished, and that you have disbanded the Militia 
in consequence. 

I clearly see, and have severely felt the ill effects of short en- 
listments, and have repeatedly given Congress my sentiments, 
thereon; I beleive they are by this time convinced, that there 
is no opposing a standing, well disciplined Army, but by one 
upon the same plan; and I hope, if this Campaign does not put 
an end to this contest, they will put the Army upon a different 
footing, than what it has heretofore been. I shall take care to 
remind them, that the terms for which DeHaas's Maxwell's and 

"Brig. Gen. Rezin Beall. 


Wind's Regiments enlisted, expires the beginning of October, 
but if they have not already thought of taking some steps to 
secure them a while longer, it will be too late; except the Offi- 
cers will exert themselves in prevailing on the Men, to stay till 
their places can be supplied by some means or other. If the 
Officers are spirited and well inclined, they may lead their 
men as they please. 

I removed my Quarters to this place, on Sunday last, it having 
been previously determined, by a Council of General Officers, 
on the preceding Thursday, to evacuate New York; The rea- 
sons that principally weighed with them, were, that from every 
information, and every movement of the Enemy, it was clear, 
that their attack was not meditated against the City, their intent 
evidently was, to throw their whole Army, between part of ours 
in New York, and its environs, and the remainder about Kings- 
bridge, and thereby cut off our communication with each other 
and with the Country. Indeed their operations on Sunday last, 
fully satisfied the opinion of the Council, and the steps taken 
in consequence; for on that Morning, they began their landing 
at Turtle Bay, and continued to throw over great Numbers of 
men, from Long Island, and from Montresor's and Bohhanan's 
Islands, on which they had previously lodged them. As we had 
exerted ourselves in removing our Sick and Stores of every 
kind, after the measure of abandoning had been determined 
upon, very few things, and but three or four Men fell into 
the Enemy's hand. 

On Monday last, we had a pretty sharp skirmish between 
two Battalions of light Infantry and Highlanders, and three 
Companies of Hessian Rifle Men, commanded by Brigr. 
Leslie, and Detachments from our Army under the Com- 
mand of Lieutt. Colo. Knowlton of Connecticut, and Major 
Leitch of Virginia. The Colo, received a mortal wound, and 


the Majr. three balls thro' his body, but he is likely to do well. 
Their parties behaved with great bravery, and being supported 
with fresh troops, beat the Enemy fairly from the field. Our 
loss, except in that of Colo. Knowlton, a most valuable and 
gallant Officer, is inconsiderable. That of the Enemy, from 
Accounts, between Eighty and One hundred Wounded, and 
fifteen or twenty killed. This little advantage has inspirited 
our troops prodigiously, they find that it only requires resolu- 
tion and good Officers to make an enemy, (that they stood in 
too much dread of) give way. 

The British Army lays incamped about two Miles below us, 
they are busy in bringing over their Cannon, and Stores from 
Long Island, and we are putting ourselves in the best posture of 
defence, that time and Circumstance will admit of. 

I inclose you Copies of several resolutions of Congress, re- 
specting the Northern Army &c, not knowing whether they 
have yet been transmitted to you, I received Capt. Varicks resig- 
nation, which shall be forwarded to Congress this day. I am &c. 


Head Quarters, Heights of Harlem, 
September 20, 1776. 
Gentlemen: Having reason to believe the enemy will at- 
tempt to gall us with their ships of war from the North River 
as soon as they are ready to open their batteries against the 
front of our lines, which we expect them to erect with great 
industry, I beg leave to mention that I think it may be of im- 
mense consequence if your honourable body will order down 
some of your fire-ships, which may lay just above the obstruc- 
tions in the river under cover of the guns of Fort Washington, 
where they will be ready to act in case the ships should attempt 


to come up. Hurried and surrounded with a thousand things, 
I have only time to add that I have the honor to be, etc. 


Head Quarters, Heights of Harlem, 
September 20, 1776. 

Sir : I have been honored with your favor of the 16th. with its 
inclosures; to prevent the injury and abuses which would arise 
from the Militia and other Troops carrying away Ammunition 
and Continental property, I have published the substance of 
the Resolves upon the Subject, in General Orders. 

Since my Letter of Yesterday, nothing of importance has 
cast up; The Enemy are forming a large and extensive en- 
campment, in the plains mentioned in my last and are busily 
employed in transporting their Cannon and Stores from Long 
Island. As they advance them this way, we may reasonably 
expect their Operations will not long be deferred. 

Inclosed are sundry Letters &ca. to which Congress will be 
pleased to pay such regard, as they may think them deserving of. 
The Letter from Monr. Devourony 93 came open, under cover 
of one to me. Those from Colonel Hand and Colonel Ward, 
contain a list of vacancies in their Regiments, and of the Persons 
they esteem proper to fill them. The former, I believe returned 
no list before, the latter says he never got any Commissions. 
Generals Howe and Erskine's Proclamations, 94 shew the Meas- 
ures that have been pursued to force and seduce the Inhabitants 

93 Chevalier de Berruyer du Maurony. He wrote from Boston (September 9) asking 
permission for his vessel to leave that port for the West Indies. His letter is in the 
Washington Papers. 

94 Sir William Howe and Sir William Erskine. The latter had been colonel of the 
Eightieth Foot and was now a brigadier with the rank of major general in America. 
Howe's proclamation, signed by both Lord and Sir William Howe, was dated Sep- 
tember 19, and promised in the King's name a revision of his instructions and pardons 
and favors to all who would now return to the British allegiance. A copy is in the 
Papers of the Continental Congress. It was published in the New Yor\ Gazette of 
Sept. 9, 1776; in the weekly Mercury of Sept. 30, 1776; and repeated in the latter 
Oct. 7, 1776. 


of Long Island from their Allegiance to the States, and to assist 
in their destruction. 

As the period will soon arrive, when the Troops composing 
the present Army, (a few excepted) will be disbanded accord- 
ing to the tenor of their Inlistments and the most fatal conse- 
quences may ensue, if a suitable and timely Provision is not 
made in this Instance, I take the Liberty of suggesting to Con- 
gress, not only the expediency, but the absolute necessity there 
is, that their earliest attention should be had to this Subject. In 
respect to the time, that Troops should be engaged for, I have 
frequently given my Sentiments, nor have I omitted to express 
my Opinion of the difficulties that will attend raising them, nor 
of the Impracticability of effecting It, without the allowance of 
a large and extraordinary bounty. 

It is a melancholy and painful consideration to those who are 
concerned in the Work, and have the command, to be forming 
Armies constantly, and to be left by Troops just when they 
begin to deserve the Name, or perhaps at a Moment when an 
important blow is expected. This I am informed will be the 
case at Ticonderoga, with part of the Troops there, unless some 
system is immediately come into, by which they can be induced 
to stay. General Schuyler tells me, in a letter received yesterday, 
that DeHaas, 95 Maxwell's 96 and Winds's 97 Regiments stand 
engaged only till the beginning of next Month, and that the 
Men, he is fearful, will not remain longer, than the time of 
their Inlistments. 

I would also beg leave to mention to Congress, that the Sea- 
son is fast approaching, when Cloaths of every kind will be 
wanted for the Army. Their distress is already great, and will 
be encreased, as the weather becomes more severe. Our situ- 
ation is now bad, but is much better than the Militia that are 

9B Col. John Philip de Haas, of the Second Pennsylvania Regiment. 

96 Col. William Maxwell, of the Second New Jersey Regiment. 

97 Col. William Winds, of the First New Jersey Regiment. 


coming to Join us from the States of Massachusetts Bay and 
Connecticut, in consequence of the requisition of Congress. 
They I am informed have not a single Tent, or a necessary of 
any kind, nor can I conceive, how It will be possible to support 
them. These circumstances are extremely alarming and oblige 
me to wish, Congress to have all the Tents, Clothing of every 
kind, and Camp necessaries, provided and forwarded that are 
to be procured. These Eastern reinforcements have not a single 
necessary, not a pan or a Kettle, in which we are now greatly 
deficient. It is with reluctance that I trouble Congress with 
these Matters, but to whom can I resort for relief but to them ? 
The necessity therefore which urges the Application, will ex- 
cuse It, I am persuaded. 

I have not been able to transmit Congress a Genl. return 
of the Army this Week owing to the peculiar situation of 
our Affairs and the great shifting and Changing among our 
Troops. As soon as I can procure One a Copy shall be forwarded 
to Congress. I have the Honor etc. 

September 21, 1776. 
Things with us remain in the situation they were Yesterday. 98 


September 21, 1776. 
Sir: You are directed to take the within mentd. Wine" for 
the Use of the Hospital, taking a proper Account of it. 1 


88 In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 

"Two pipes of Madeira wine which had been the property of Colonel Montresor, of 
the British Army. The hospital wanted it, as its supply of bark had given out and the 
"Wine may be the best Substitute we can prescribe to support the Strength of the 
Patient." (See Dr. Charles McKnight's letter to Trumbull, Sept. 21, 1776, in the 
Washington Papers.) 

*In the writing of Joseph Reed. 

1776] SICK FRAUDS 87 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, September 21, 1776. 

Parole Lisbon. Countersign Dover. 

If the Quarter Master General has any Sails, or other Cover- 
ing; he is to deliver them to Genl. Spencer's order, who will see 
that the Regiments most in need of it, now under his immediate 
command, are first supplied. 

The General earnestly exhorts the commanding Officers of 
every Regiment, and Corps, to fall upon the best and most expe- 
ditious method of procuring Cloaths and Necessaries for their 
men before the season gets too far advanced — For this purpose 
they are hereby authorized to send out one or more officers, as 
the nature of the case shall require, and the service will admit 
of, to purchase and provide them. 

Generals Putnam and Spencer, together with the several Brig- 
adiers, on this side Kingsbridge, are to look over the Grounds 
within our lines, and fix upon places to build Barracks, or Huts, 
for quartering the men in. No time should be lost in making 
the choice, that covering may be had as soon as possible, for the 
ease and comfort of the men. 

It is earnestly recommended to all Brigadiers and command- 
ing Officers of Corps, to see or know that the Orders relative to 
their respective Brigades &c. are complied with; and they as 
well as commanding Officers of Regiments &c, are requested to 
attend particularly to the state of the men's health, that those 
that are really Sick, may be supplied in the best manner our 
situation and circumstances will admit of, whilst such as feign 
themselves Sick, merely to get excused from duty, meet with 
no kind of countenance, or favour, as it only tends to throw the 
burden upon the spirited and willing men, who disdain such 
scandalous practices. The General would remind all officers, 


of the indispensible necessity there is of each of them, exerting 
himself in the Department he acts, and that where this is the 
case of the advantages resulting from it, as an Army, let it be 
ever so large, then moves like Cloc\-wor\; whereas, without it, 
it is no better than an ungovernable Machine, that serves only 
to perplex and distract those who attempt to conduct it. 

The Brigadier Generals, and the Brigade Major, of the day, 
are both to attend the parade, at the hour of mounting Guard \ 
see them brought on and marched off, and so continue near 
the advanced lines 'till they are relieved the next day, in order 
that they may be ready in case of an Attack, to command at the 
lines — When they are relieved, they are to report extraordi- 
naries to the Commander in Chief. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, September 22, 1776. 

Parole Hampton. Countersign Newark. 

The Court Martial of which Col Sage 2 was President is dis- 
solved — The Brigade Majors to form a new one immediately — 
Col Magaw to preside, to meet to morrow at Head-Quarters, 
Nine O'clock — The Brigade Majors to give notice to the offi- 
cers of their respective brigades. 

There is a shameful deficiency of Officers at Guard-Mounting 
and other duty — The Brigade Majors are to put in Arrest, any 
officer, who being warned, does not attend his duty, unless ex- 
cused by the Brigadier General. The many Complaints that 
are hourly made of plundering both public and private prop- 
erty, induces the General to direct that every Regiment be 
paraded at five O'Clock this evening, the Knapsacks and 
Tents of the whole to be examined under the inspection of 
the Field Officers, and all Articles, not the proper Baggage and 

2 Col. Comfort Sage, of a Connecticut State regiment and, later, of the Connecticut 


Accoutrements of a Soldier, set apart, and kept by the Colonel, 
or commanding Officer, 'till Inquiry can be made, how they 
came possessed of them — A Report is expected from the com- 
manding Officer of the Regiment, to Head Quarters, whether 
any Articles are found, or not — And the General depends 
upon the Honor of the officers, to inspect carefully, and make 
a faithful Report. 

It is with particular pleasure that the General has it in his 
power to inform the officers and soldiers, who have been 
wounded in their Country's Cause, and all others whose lot 
it may be to be disabled, that The Congress have come to the 
following Resolution (Viz) 

That Officers and Privates, loosing a Limb in any Engagement, or 
who shall be so disabled in the service of the United States of America, 
as to render them incapable of getting a livelihood, shall receive half of 
their Monthly-Pay, during life, or the continuance of their disability, 
from the time their pay ceases as officers, or soldiers. 

Also such officers, or soldiers, as are wounded in any Engagement, 
and rendered incapable of service, tho' not totally disabled from getting 
a livelihood, shall receive Monthly, such Sums towards their Subsist- 
ence, as the Assembly, or Representative Body of the State, they belong 
to, or reside in, judge adequate; they producing in the cases above-men- 
tioned, to the Committee, or Officer appointed to receive the same, in the 
State, where they reside, or belong, or to the Assembly, or Legislative 
Body of such State, a Certificate from the Commanding Officer, who 
was in the Engagement, in which they were wounded, or in case of his 
death, from some other officer of the same Corps, and the Surgeon that 
attended them; of their names, office, rank, department, regiment and 
company, the nature of their wounds and in what action or engagement 
they were wounded. 3 

The Brigadier of the day, where the Guards mount at the 
lines, is to give strict charge to all the officers, not to suffer any 
person whatsoever, to go beyond the out-Sentries, without an 

8 The resolves of Aug. 26, 1776. They were published, by order of Congress, in the 
Pennsylvania Gazette of Sept. 4, 1776. As quoted in General Orders, they vary in 
verbal particulars from the text in the Journals of the Continental Congress. 


Order in writing from himself — All the Sentries are to be in- 
formed of this, and if any person whatever presume to disobey 
the Orders, they are to fire upon in the same manner as they 
would do on a common Enemy. Any persons coming in from 
the Enemy's lines are to be carried to the Brigadier of the day 
immediately for examination, who is to take their information 
in writing, and send it with the person or persons to the Com- 
mander in Chief — The Brigadier is to see that a chain of Sen- 
tries extend from the North River to Harlem River, beyond 
which no Stragglers are to pass. 

The officer commanding the Scouts, is to attend at Head 
Quarters, at seven O'clock, every morning, to know if there 
are any orders for these Corps. 

The commanding Officers of the several Regiments, are to 
be particularly attentive, in seeing that their men are supplied 
with Ammunition, and that they account regularly for the 
Cartridges delivered to them: They are not to suffer any Pieces 
to be discharged at Retreat-beating, but such as will not fire in 
an Engagement, and cannot be drawn. The great Waste of 
Ammunition is such, that unless the officers will exert them- 
selves to see justice done to the public, a sufficiency cannot be 
kept upon hand to supply them. 

Mr. Josiah Adams is appointed Paymaster to Col Little's 4 Regi- 
ment, and Mr Elisha Humphreys to Col Webb's 5 Regiment. 

The Court Martial whereof Col. Sage was President hav- 
ing found Ebenezer Liffenwell of Capt. Clift's Company and 
Col Durkee's Regt. guilty of "Cowardice and Misbehaviour 
before the Enemy on Monday last" — and also of "presenting 
his Firelock at his superior Officer, when turning him back 
a second time"; which by the 27th. Article of the Rules and 

*Col. Moses Little's Twelfth Continental Infantry. 

6 Col. Charles Webb's Nineteenth Continental Infantry. 

1776] PLUNDERING 91 

Regulations of the Army is Death— He is accordingly adjudged 
to suffer Death. 

The General approves the sentence, and orders that he be 
shot at the head of the Army, on the Grand-Parade, near Kart- 
right's house, to morrow morning at eleven O'clock — The 
Men of the several Regiments below Kingsbridge, not upon 
Fatigue or Guard are to march down at that hour — The Pro- 
vost Marshal to attend. Major Henly, acting Deputy Adjt. 
General, will order twelve Men, out of the Guards paraded 
for duty, to morrow, to execute the sentence. 

The same Court Martial having found Ensign McCumber 
of Capt. Barns's Company, and Col Serjeant's Regt. guilty of 
the infamous Crime of "plundering the Inhabitants of Har- 
lem" — and ordered him to be cashiered — The General ap- 
proves the sentence and orders him to be turned out of the 
Army immediately as an officer. 


Camp Near Kingsbridge, September 22, 1776. 
Sir: I had flattered myself that the Congress would before 
this Time have forwarded the amended Articles for the Gov- 
ernment of the Army. But as they have not I think it my indis- 
pensable Duty to lay before them the Necessity, the absolute 
Necessity of forming an Article against plundering, maraud- 
ing and burning of Houses; such a Spirit has gone forth in our 
Army that neither publick or private Property is secure. Every 
Hour brings the most distressing Complaints of the Ravages 
of our own Troops who are become infinitely more formidable 
to the poor Farmers and Inhabitants than the common Enemy. 
Horses are taken out of the Continental Teams. The Baggage 
of Officers and the Hospital Stores, Even the Quarters of Gen- 
eral Officers are not exempt from Rapine. 


Some severe and exemplary Punishment to be inflicted in 
a summary Way must be immediately administered, or the 
Army will be totally ruined. I must beg the immediate Atten- 
tion of Congress to this Matter as of the utmost Importance to 
our Existence as an Army. 6 I am, &c. 7 


Head Quarters, Heights of Harlem, 
September 22, 1776. 
Sir: I have nothing in particular to communicate to Congress 
respecting the situation of our Affairs, It is much the same as 
when I had the Honor of addressing you last. 

On Friday night, about Eleven or twelve O'Clock a fire* 
broke out in the City of New York, near the New or St. Pauls 
Church, as It is said, which continued to burn pretty rapidly till 

"The letter was read in Congress on September 23. Hancock's letter to Washing- 
ton (September 24) referred him to the committee of Congress which was to confer 
with him on the state of the Army. 

7 In the writing of Joseph Reed. 

8 Responsibility for the fire does not rest with any official, civil or military. It was 
probably started to cover looting by the criminal element. There were many exag- 
gerated reports published in the London papers in October, in which the usual tales 
of bad blood between the New England and other troops are again recounted. The 
New Englanders wanted to burn the town but were prevented by the New Yorkers 
and Pennsylvanians, according to the London Chronicle. 

The Pennsylvania Journal of Oct. 20, 1776, states: "The fire originated at or near 
Whitehall, soon extended to the Exchange, took its course up the west side of Broad 
Street, as far as Verlattenberg Hill, consuming all the blocks from the Whitehall up. 
The flames extended across the Broadway from the house of Mr. David Johnson to 
Beaver Lane, or Fischer's Alley, on the west, and carried all before it, a few build- 
ings excepted, to the house at the corner of Barclay Street, wherein the late Mr. Adam 
Vandenberg lived, sweeping the cross streets in the way. . . . The cause of the fire 
is not known. We imagine about a 6th part of the whole city is destroyed." 

Sparks notes that in describing this catastrophe the British commander wrote to 
Lord George Germain on the 23d that the town was set on fire in several places 
with matches and combustibles that had been prepared with great art and ingenuity. 
He added: "Many were detected in the act, and some killed upon the spot by the 
enraged troops in garrison; and had it not been for the exertions of Major-General 
Robertson, the officers under his command in town, and the brigade of guards 
detached from the camp, the whole must infallibly have been consumed, as the 
night was extremely windy. The destruction is computed to be about one quarter 
of the town." 


after Sunrise the next morning. I have not been Informed how 
the Accident happened, nor received any certain Account of the 
damage. Reports says many Houses between the Broadway 
and the River were consumed. I have the Honor to be &ca. 9 


Heights of Haerlem, September 22, 1776. 

Dear Brother: My extreame hurry for some time past has 
rendered it utterly impossible for me to pay that attention to 
the Letters of my Friends which Inclination, and natural affec- 
tion always Inclines me to. I have no doubt therefore of meet- 
ing with their excuse, tho' with respect to yourself, I have had 
no Letter from you since the date of my last saving the one of 
Septr. the 1st. 

With respect to the Attack and Retreat from Long Island 
the public Papers would furnish you with accts. nearly true. 
I shall only add, that in the former we lost about 800 Men, 
more than three fourths of which were taken Prisoners. This 
misfortune happened in a great measure by two Detachments 
of our People who were Posted in two Roads leading thro' a 
Wood in order to intercept the Enemy in their March, suffering 
a Surprize, and making a precipitate Retreat, which enabled 
the Enemy to lead a great part of their force against the Troops 
Commanded by Lord Sterling which formed a third detach- 
ment; who behaved with great bravery and resolution. 

As to the Retreat from the Island, under the Circumstances 
we then were, it became absolutely necessary, and was effected 
without loss of Men, and with but very little baggage. A few 
heavy Cannon were left, not being movable, on acct. of the 
Grounds being soft and Miry, thro' the heavy and incessant 

9 In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 


Rains which had fallen. The Enemys loss in killed we could 
never ascertain, but have many reasons to believe that it was 
pretty considerable, and exceeded ours a good deal; our Re- 
treat from thence as I said before was absolutely necessary, the 
Enemy having landed the main body of their Army to Attack 
us in Front while their Ships of War were to cut off all com- 
munication with the City, from whence resources of Men, 
Provisions &ca. were to be drawn. 

Having made this Retreat, not long after we discovered by 
the movements of the Enemy and the information we received 
from Deserters and others, that they declin'd attacking our 
Lines in the City, and were forming a plan to get in our Rear 
with their Land Army, by crossing the Sound above us, and 
thereby to cut off all Intercourse with the Country and every 
necessary supply. The Ships of War were to cooperate, possess 
the North River, and prevent succours from the Jerseys, &c. 
This Plan appearing probable and but too practicable in its exe- 
cution, it became necessary to guard agt.the fatal consequences 
that must follow if their scheme was affected; for which pur- 
pose I caused a removal of a part of our Stores, Troops, &ca. 
from the City, and a Council of General Officers determined on 
Thursday the 12th. that it must be entirely abandoned; as we 
had, with an Army weaker than theirs, a line of Sixteen or 18 
Miles to defend, to keep open our Communication with the 
Country, besides the defence of the City. We held up however 
every show and appearance of defence till our Sick and all our 
Stores could be brought away; the evacuation being resolved 
on every exertion in our power was made to baffle their designs, 
and effect our own. The sick were numerous (amounting to 
more than the fourth part of our whole Army) and an object 
of great Importance, happily we got them away; but before we 
could bring off all our Stores on Sunday Morning Six or Seven 


Ships of War which had gone up the East River some few days 
before began a most severe and heavy Canonade to scour the 
Ground and effect a Landing of their Troops. Three Ships 
of War also ran up the North River that Morning above the 
City, to prevent our Boats and Small Craft carrying away 
our Baggage &ca. 

I had gone the Evening before to the Main body of our Army 
which was Posted about these Heights and the Plains of Har- 
lem, where it seemed probable from the movements, and dis- 
position of the Enemy they meant to Land and make an Attack 
the next Morning. However the Event did not happen. Imme- 
diately on hearing the Cannonade I rode with all possible expe- 
dition towards the place of Landing, and where Breast Works 
had been thrown up to secure our Men, and found the Troops 
that had been posted there to my great surprize and Mortifica- 
tion, and those ordered to their support (consisting of Eight 
Regiments) notwithstanding the exertions of their Generals to 
form them, running away in the most shameful and disgrace- 
ful manner. I used every possible effort to rally them but to no 
purpose, and, on the appearance of a small part of the Enemy 
(not more than 60 or 70) they ran off without firing a Single 
Gun. Many of our heavy Cannon wd. inevitably have fallen 
into the Enemy's hands as they landed so soon, but this scan- 
dalous conduct occasioned a loss of many Tents, Baggage and 
Camp Equipage, which would have been easily secured had 
they made the least opposition. 

The Retreat was made with the loss of a few men only. We 
Incamp'd, and still are on, the Heights of Harlem which are 
well calculated for Defence against their approaches. On Mon- 
day Morning they advanced in sight in several large body, 
but attempted nothing of a general Nature, tho' there were 
smart skirmishes between their advanced parties and some 


Detachments from our lines which I sent out. In these our 
Troops behaved well, putting the Enemy to flight in open 
Ground, and forcing them from Posts they had seized two or 
three times. A Sergeant who deserted from them says they 
had as he was told 89 Wounded and Missing besides Slain, but 
other accts. make the wounded much greater. 

Our loss in killed and Wounded was about 60; but the great- 
est loss we sustaind was in the death of Lt. Colo. Knowlton, 10 
a brave and Gallant officer. Majr. Leitch of Weedon's Regiment 
had three Balls through his Side, and behaved exceedingly well, 
he is in a fair way of recovery. Nothing material has happend 
since this; the Enemy it is said are bringing up their heavy Can- 
non, so that we are to expect another attack soon, both by Land 
and Water, as we are upon the Hudson, (or North River) at 
the place where we have attempted to stop the Navigation by 
sinking obstructions in the River and erecting Batteries. 

The Dependance which the Congress has placed upon the 
Militia, has already greatly injured, and I fear will totally ruin 
our Cause. Being subject to no controul themselves they intro- 
duce disorder among the Troops you have attempted to disci- 
pline while the change in their living brings on sickness; this 
makes them Impatient to get home, which spreads universally, 
and introduces abominable Desertions. In short, it is not in the 
power of Words to describe the task I have to act. ^50,000 
should not induce me again to undergo what I have done. Our 
Numbers by Sickness, desertion, &ca. is greatly reduced. I have 
been trying these 4 or 5 days to get a return but have not yet 
succeeded. I am sure however we have not more than 12 or 

10 Knowl ton's death possibly explains the fact that there is no mention of Capt. 
Nathan Hale in Washington's letters, as it was Knowlton who is credited with ac- 
cepting Hale's volunteer services. Morton Pennypacker's Two Spies quotes a letter 
from Tench Tilghman to William Duer, 10 days after Hale's execution: "General 
Howe hanged a Captain of ours belonging to Knowlton's Rangers who went into 
New York to make discoveries. I don't see why we should not make retaliation." 
The story that Knowlton introduced Hale to Washington and that the Commander 
in Chief gave Hale his instructions lacks documentary confirmation. 


14,000 Men fit for duty, whilst the Enemy (who it is said are 
very healthy) cannot have less than near 25,000. My sincere 
love to my Sister and the Family and Compliments to any en- 
quiring Friends concludes me, etc. 


Head Quarters, Heights of Harlem, 
September 23, 1776. 

Sir: Genl Howe, in a Letter received from him yesterday 
Evening by a Flag, having offered to exchange Brigadier Genl. 
Lord Stirlingf or Governor Montfort Brown, and also requested 
that Govr. Skene may be granted his liberty without delay, as- 
suring me that Mr. Lovell shall be immediately enlarged, on 
his Arrival from Hallif ax and whose exchange for Governor 
Skene's has been agreed upon; I must take the Liberty of re- 
questing the favor of your Notice to these two Gentlemen, and 
that you will provide them with a proper Escort to repair to 
Head Quarters as soon as they can, with their baggage; that the 
proposed Exchange for Lord Stirling may be effected, and 
Genl. Howe's request be Complied with respecting Governor 
Skene's being returned. The Gentlemen are to consider them- 
selves under parole, till such time as they are sent from Head 
Qurs. to General Howe. 

I must beg your excuse,for not having wrote you of late upon 
the Situation of our Affairs, and such Events as have cast up 
in the Military Line. I shall only add, that the Important Con- 
cerns which have Commanded my Closest attention, have been 
the Cause, and, I am fully persuaded, will furnish me with a 
Sufficient apology. 

Of the evacuation of the City of New York, on Sunday Sen- 
night, and the retreat to this Place you will have heard before 
now, and of the Manner in which it was conducted. I am certain, 
a minute relation of them, would only increase the uneasiness, 


which would naturally arise upon hearing the Events; and 
therefore, as I have not time, I shall not enter upon it. The 
Enemy by their Movements having unfolded their Plan of 
Operations, and discovered that they declined making a direct 
attack upon the Town, and that their designs were to land in 
our Rear and to cut off all intercourse with the Country; at 
the same time to prevent any Communication with the Jersey 
and States, South of the North River, by means of their Ships 
of War; It became necessary to adopt such Measures, as seemed 
best calculated to baffle their schemes and promote the Com- 
mon Interests. To these ends, a Council of Officers determined 
the Evacuation of the City absolutely necessary, and I have only 
to wish, that it had been made in a Way more honorable and 
with less loss of Baggage; which might have been the case, had 
the Troops that remained there, for the defence of the Lines, 
not betaken themselves to a most precipitate and disgraceful 
flight, contrary to the exertions of their General officers and 
every effort in my Power to prevent and form them. Having 
gone from hence, as soon as the Ships began their Cannonade, 
and whither I had come the Night before, to the Main Body of 
our Army, in expectation of an Attack that night or the next 
Morning; as the parade of the Enemy and the unusual Stir 
amongst them, strongly Indicated one. The next Morning, 
several large Columns of them appeared on the Plains, at the 
distance of about two Miles andahalf below us, and some smart 
Skirmishes ensued between their Advanced parties composed 
of the 2d. Battallion of Infantry, a Regt. of Royal Highlanders, 
and three Companies of the Hessian Chauseurs or Rifle Men and 
the detachments which I sent out to oppose them. Upon this 
Occasion, our Men behaved with great Spirit and Intrepidity, 
putting the Enemy to flight and forcing them from their Posts 
two or three times. Our people buried Sixteen or Eighteen of 
their dead, as they say; and a Serjeant who has since deserted, 

1776] FIRE IN NEW YORK 99 

reports, they had Eighty Nine Missing and Wounded. Our 
Loss in Number was inconsiderable, but must be considered as 
great, in the fall of Lieut. Colo. Knowlton of your State who 
Commanded a party of Rangers, composed of Volunteers from 
the several New England Regiments, and who was a brave and 
good officer. Every honor was paid to his merit in his Interment, 
that the Situation of things would admit of. The Enemy have 
formed a large Encampment in the plains, or rather Heights, 
below us, extending across, as it were, from the East to the 
North River; but have attempted nothing as yet of a General 
nature. We are making every disposition in our power, for 
defence and I should hope from the Ground we are on, If they 
make an Attack and our Men behave with tolerable resolution 
and firmness, that they will meet with a repulse, or, at least, 
any advantage they gain will be attended with Sorrow and a 
Considerable Loss. Major Leitch, who led on a detachment of 
the Virginia Regiment in the affair of Monday, received three 
Balls thro' one Side; he still retains his Spirits and seems as if 
he would recover. On friday Night, about Eleven or twelve 
OClock, a fire broke out in the City of New York, which, 
burning rapidly till after Sun rise next morning, destroyed a 
great Number of Houses. By what means it happened we do 
not know; but the Gentleman who brought the Letter from 
Genl. Howe last night, and who was one of his Aide De Camps, 
informed Col. Reed, that several of our Countrymen had been 
punished with various deaths on Account of it ; someby hanging, 
others by burning, &c, alledging that they were apprehended 
when Committing the fact. I have &c. 

P. S. I would choose that Governors Brown and Skene should 
be stopt, when they come within Ten or twelve Miles, and de- 
tained till one of the Escort can inform me of their coming, 
and receive my directions respecting them. 



Head-Quarters, Heights of Haerlem, 
September 23, 1776. 

Sir: I yesterday evening received the favor of your letter of 
the 21st. by your Aid de Camp Captn. Montresor 11 ; in conse- 
quence of which, I this morning despatched an Express to 
ElizabethTown with orders that Major Genl. Prescott should 
be permitted to return in the Boat that carried Genl. Sullivan 
over to that place. 

I most readily concur in the proposition you are pleased to 
make for the Exchange of Brigadier General Lord Stirling for 
Governor Montf ort Brown and have sent for him accordingly. 
I should hope that Lord Stirling will be immediately set at lib- 
erty, on my promise that Governor Brown shall be sent to you 
as soon as he arrives. 12 I had no doubt but Mr. McDonald's title 
would have been acknowledged, having understood that he 
received his Commission from the hands of Governor Mar- 
tin 13 ; nor can I consent to rank him as Major, till I have proper 
authority from Congress, to whom I shall state the matter upon 
your representation. 

Agreeably to your request, I shall transmit to Lieutt. Colo. 
Campbell, 14 a copy of the List of Officers of the 42d. and 71st. 
Regiments, taken by us last spring, that it may be rectified 
in the Instances in which it may be wrong, and will then 
place opposite to their Names the Officers I would wish in 
return for them : The Exchange of privates, I shall take the 

"Capt. Robert Montresor, of the Forty-ninth Foot, British Army. 

12 Washington wrote to Brig. Gen. Hugh Mercer (September 23) directing him to 
send forward General Prescott but to return McDonald to Philadelphia and take the 
directions of Congress concerning him. This letter is in the Washington Papers. 

"Gov. Joseph Martin, of North Carolina. 

"Lieut. Col. Archibald Campbell, of the Seventy-first Foot, British Army. 


earliest opportunity in my power to carry into execution; but 
their being greatly dispersed through the New England Gov- 
ernments, in order to their better accommodation, will prevent 
it for some time. 

Having the fullest confidence in your assurance, that Mr. 
Lovell will be released when he arrives from Halifax, I have 
wrote for Governor Skene to come to Head Quarters, that he 
may proceed immediately to you. 

As to the Exchange of prisoners settled between Captn. Fos- 
ter 15 and Genl. Arnold, I beg leave to inform you, that it was a 
transaction, in which I had not the smallest concern, nor have 
I authority to give directions in any degree respecting the matter. 

The information you have received concerning the ill-treat- 
ment of your Officers, I would fain hope is not generally well 
founded : The Letters from them, which have passed through 
my Hands, hold forth a different language. In particular in- 
stances, 'tis true, there are some who have been restricted to a 
closer confinement and severer treatment than they otherwise 
would have been, for breaking or refusing to give their paroles. 
Such I am confident will not be countenanced by your Excel- 
lency, and I am persuaded by a closer investigation of the en- 
quiry, you will discover, that there have been no other persons 
whatever, who have experienced the smallest harshness from 
us; I shall However obtain all the information on the Subject 
in my power, that every ground of complaint, if any exists, 
may be entirely removed, it being my most earnest wish, that 
during this unhappy contest, there be every exercise of human- 
ity, which the nature of the case will possibly admit of. 

Your Aid de Camp delivered me theBallyou mention, which 
was the first of the kind I ever saw or heard of; You may depend 

"Capt. George Forster, of the Eighth Foot, British Army. 


the contrivance is highly abhorred by me, and every measure 
shall be taken to prevent so wicked and infamous a practice 
being adopted in this Army. I have the honor &c. 


Head Quarters at the Heights of Harlem, 
September 23, 1776. 

Sir: Your favour of the 21st instant, enclosing the resolution 
of the Representatives of the State of New York, has come duly 
to hand and will be properly attended to. I am exceedingly 
obliged by the readiness you declare you will pay to any com- 
mands which you may receive from me, respecting the great 
cause in which we are engaged. * * * 16 

I advanced part of Colonel Griffith's and Colonel Richard- 
son's Maryland regiments, with some detachments of Eastern 
troops, who charged the enemy and drove them from the wood 
to the plain, and were still pursuing, when I judged it prudent to 
withdraw them, fearing the enemy might be sending a large 
reinforcement to the troops which were engaged, which was 
the case as I have since understood. * * * I am in hopes 
this little success will be productive of salutary consequences, as 
our army seems to be greatly inspirited by it. I am, etc. 17 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, September 23, 1776. 
Parole Stamford. Countersign Norwalk. 
Ebenezer Limngwell being convicted of offering Violence to 
his superior Officer — of Cowardice and Misbehaviour before 

a6 The omitted portions are practically verbatim repetitions of Washington's letter to 
Governor Trumbull, Sept. 23, 1776, q. v. 

"The text is from Force's American Archives. 


the Enemy, was ordered to suffer Death this day — The General 
from his former good Character and upon the intercession of 
the Adjutant General, against whom he presented his firelock, 
is pleased to pardon him, but declares that the next offender 
shall suffer Death without mercy. 

Serjt. Major Hutton 18 is appointed Adjutant to Col. Mead's 
Regiment — Col Silliman's Brigade. 

Mr. Charles Knowles is appointed Paymaster to Col Knox's 
Regiment of Artillery. 

Col Douglass's Brigade Major being ordered in Arrest for 
"Neglect of duty, in not giving the Parole and Countersign to 
the Guards," Col Douglass is to appoint another to do the duty. 

Colonels and commanding Officers of Regiments have neg- 
lected to make Reports of the examination of their Regiments 
after Plunder, they are now reminded of it, and will be men- 
tioned in Orders, if they neglect it. 

A Report is to be made at Head Quarters, as soon as possible, 
of the several officers under Arrest, that they may be tried — 
Colonels and commanding Officers of Regiments to attend to it. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, September 24, 1776. 

Parole Bristol. Countersign Salem. 

The Qr. Mr. Genl., and the Chief Engineer, are to mark the 
grounds, to morrow, on which the Barracks, and Huts, are to be 
built this side Kingsbridge — They are to call upon the General, 
previous to their setting out upon this business, for directions. 

When the ground is marked out, the Quarter Master Gen- 
eral is to cause the materials for building to be laid thereon as 
quick as possible. 

18 Christopher Hutton, of Col. Matthew Mead's Connecticut regiment. 


The General is informed that in consequence of his recom- 
mendation of the 20th. Instant many Regiments have turned out 
very cheerfully to work, when others have sent few or no men on 
fatigue, the first he thanks for their Conduct, whilst the others 
are to be informed that their conduct will be marked — The 
General would have them recollect that it is for their own safety 
and self defence, these Works are constructing, and the sooner 
they are finished the sooner they will be able to erect warm and 
comfortable Barracks, or Huts for themselves to lodge in. 

The Militia which came to the assistance of this Army, under 
the Command of Genl. Walcott are to hold themselves in read- 
iness to return home; before they go, they are to return into the 
public Stores, every thing they drew from thence, such as Am- 
munition, Camp Kettles &c. 

Joseph Jackson appointed Paymaster to Col Hutchinson's 

Major Henly 19 Aid-de-Camp to Genl. Heath, whose Activity 
and Attention to duty, Courage and every other Quality, which 
can distinguish a brave and gallant Soldier, must endear to him 
every Lover of his Country, having fallen in a late Skirmish on 
Montresor's Island while bravely leading a party on — his Re- 
mains will be interr'd this afternoon, at five OClock, from the 
quarters of Major David Henly, acting Adjt. Genl. below the hill 
where the Redoubt is thrown up on the road. 

The General thanks the Colonels, and commanding Officers 
of Regiments, for their care in examining the Tents, and Knap- 
sacks of the Soldiers, after plunder — he directs that what has 
been found be sent to the House on the Road below Head Quar- 
ters, and that regimental Courts Martial immediately sit, to try 
every one who cannot prove that he came honestly by what is 
found in his possession — The Offenders to be punished, as soon 

"Maj. Thomas Henly. 


as the sentence is approved by the Colonel, or commanding 
Officer — As a little wholesome Severity now may put a stop to 
such ruinous practices in future, the General hopes a very strict 
Inquiry will be made, and no Favor shewn — The General does 
not admit of any pretence for plundering, whether it is Tory 
property taken beyond the lines, or not, it is equally a breach of 
Orders, and to be punished in the officer who gives Orders, or 
the Soldier who goes without. 

Such Colonels, or commanding Officers of Regiments, as 
have not reported will be mentioned by Name in to morrow's 
Orders, if Reports are not made before. 

A working Party of iooo Men, properly officered, to parade 
to morrow, opposite Head Quarters, at Seven O'Clock — The Pa- 
rade will be attended by some General Officers, who will put in 
Arrest any officer found delinquent in bringing his men in time. 

A Field Officer, of the Regiment posted at Mount Washington, 
is to visit the Guards there carefully; the distance from the Lines 
not admitting the General Officer of the day to go up. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, September 24, 1776. 

Sir: The post being about to depart, I have only time to add, 
That no event of importance has taken place on this side Hud- 
son's River since my last of the 22d. instt. 

The inclosed Letter received last Night from Genl Greene, 
who now commands in the Jerseys, will give Congress all the 
information I have respecting the evacuation of Powles Hook 
and the landing of the Enemy to possess It. 20 

I this minute obtained a Copy of the General return of our 
force, the first I have been able to procure for some time past, 

20 Greene's letter, dated Sept. 23, 1776, is filed with Washington's in the Papers of 
the Continental Congress. 


which I do myself the honor of transmitting for the satisfaction 
of Congress. I am &ca. 

P. S. The Thirteen Militia Regiments from Connecticut, 
being reduced to a little more than Seven Hundred Men Rank 
and file, fit for duty, I have thought proper to discharge the 
whole, to save the States the immense charge that would arise 
for officers pay. There are too, many Militia that have just 
come in and on their way from that State, none of which are 
provided with a Tent or a single Camp utensil. 21 

This distresses me beyond measure. 22 


Colonel Morris's, on the Heights of Harlem, 

September 24, 23 1776. 
Sir: From the hours allotted to Sleep, I will borrow a few 
Moments to convey my thoughts on sundry important matters 
to Congress. I shall offer them, with that sincerity which ought 

M In his journey to Staten Island, N. Y., John Adams noted (Worlds, vol. 3, p. 75) 
the straggling and loitering soldiers on the road and in the public houses and con- 
ceived "but a poor opinion of the discipline of our forces, and excited as much 
indignation as anxiety." Upon his return to Congress, at his instance, and through 
the Board of War, a resolution for enforcing and perfecting discipline in the army 
was adopted. "That the commander in chief of the forces of these states in the sev- 
eral departments, be directed to give positive orders to the brigadier generals and 
colonels, and all other officers in their several armies, that the troops under their com- 
mand, may every day, be called together, and trained in arms, in order that officers 
and men may be perfected in the manual exercise and manoeuvres, and inured to the 
most exemplary discipline, and that all officers be assured that the Congress will con- 
sider activity and success in introducing discipline into the army, among the best 
recommendations for promotion." (See journals of the Continental Congress, Sept. 
19, 1776.) This officious resolution must have reached Washington before the 22A, 
and was the cause of the letter of the 24th, which was written by his own hand, and 
shows no sign of resentment at the criticism thus leveled against him by Adams 
and the Congress. The extreme difficulties to be overcome in obtaining even the sem- 
blance of discipline in such an army as Congress gave to Washington are described 
in the letters of Reed, now Adjutant General, who, soon after, sent in his resignation. 
John Sloss Hobart saw Washington on the evening of the 24th and spoke of him as 
"much indisposed." — Ford. 

22 In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 

23 This letter was actually written in the early morning hours of September 25. (See 
Washington's letter to Congress, Sept. 25, 1776, post.) 

1776] BOUNTIES 107 

to characterize a man of candour; and with the freedom which 
may be used in giving useful information, without incurring 
the imputation of presumption. 

We are now as it were, upon the eve of another dissolution 
of our Army ; 24 the remembrance of the difficulties which hap- 
pened upon that occasion last year, the consequences which 
might have followed the change, if proper advantages had been 
taken by the Enemy; added to a knowledge of the present tem- 
per and Situation of the Troops, reflect but a very gloomy pros- 
pect upon the appearance of things now,andsatisfie me, beyond 
the possibility of doubt, that unless some speedy, and effectual 
measures are adopted by Congress, our cause will be lost. 

It is in vain to expect, that any (or more than a trifling) part 
of this Army will again engage in the Service on the encourage- 
ment offered by Congress. When Men find that their Towns- 
men and Companions are receiving 20, 30, and more Dollars, 
for a few Months Service, (which is truely the case) it cannot be 
expected; without using compulsion; and to force them into 
the Service would answer no valuable purpose. When Men are 
irritated, and the Passions inflamed, they fly hastely and chear- 
fully to Arms; but after the first emotions are over, to expect, 
among such People, as compose the bulk of an Army, that they 
are influenced by any other principles than those of Interest, is 
to look for what never did, and I fear never will happen; the 
Congress will deceive themselves therefore if they expect it. 

A Soldier reasoned with upon the goodness of the cause he 
is engaged in, and the inestimable rights he is contending for, 

24 The term of service for almost the whole army was to expire at or before the end 
of the year. Samuel Adams passed through New York on the 14th, and in a letter to 
John Adams (August 16) said he found "the General and his family in health and 
spirits; indeed, every officer and soldier appears to be determined. ... I see now, 
more than ever I did, the importance of Congress attending immediately to enlist- 
ments for the next campaign. It would be a pity to lose your old soldiers. I am of 
opinion that a more generous bounty should be given, — twenty dollars and one hun- 
dred acres of land for three years at least." 


hears you with patience, and acknowledges the truth of your 
observations, but adds, that it is of no more Importance to him 
than others. The Officer makes you the same reply, with this 
further remark, that his pay will not support him, and he can- 
not ruin himself and Family to serve his Country, when every 
Member of the community is equally Interested and benefitted 
by his Labours. The few therefore, who act upon Principles of 
disinterestedness, are, comparatively speaking, no more than 
a drop in the Ocean. It becomes evidently clear then, that as 
this Contest is not likely to be the Work of a day; as the War 
must be carried on systematically, and to do it, you must have 
good Officers, there are, in my Judgment, no other possible 
means to obtain them but by establishing your Army upon a 
permanent footing; and giving your Officers good pay; this 
will induce Gentlemen, and Men of Character to engage; and 
till the bulk of your Officers are composed of such persons as 
are actuated by Principles of honour, and a spirit of enterprize, 
you have little to expect from them. — They ought to have such 
allowances as will enable them to live like, and support the 
Characters of Gentlemen; and not be driven by a scanty pit- 
tance to the low, and dirty arts which many of them practice, 
to filch the Public of more than the difference of pay would 
amount to upon an ample allowe. besides, something is due 
to the Man who puts his life in his hands, hazards his health, 
and forsakes the Sweets of domestic enjoyments. Why a Captn. 
in the Continental Service should receive no more than 5/. 
Curry per day, for performing the same duties that an officer 
of the same Rank in the British Service receives 10/. Sterlg. 
for, I never could conceive; especially when the latter is pro- 
vided with every necessary he requires, upon the best terms, 
and the former can scarce procure them, at any Rate. There is 
nothing that gives a Man consequence, and renders him fit for 

1776] BOUNTY EVILS 109 

Command, like a support that renders him Independant of 
every body but the State he Serves. 25 

With respect to the Men, nothing but a good bounty can obtain 
them upon a permanent establishment; and for no shorter time 
than the continuance of the War, ought they to be engaged; as 
Facts incontestibly prove, that the difficulty, and cost of Inlist- 
ments, increase with time. When the Army was first raised 
at Cambridge, I am persuaded the Men might have been got 
without a bounty for the War: after this, they began to see that 
the Contest was not likely to end so speedily as was immagined, 
and to feel their consequence, by remarking, that to get the 
Militia In, in the course of last year, many Towns were induced 
to give them a bounty. Foreseeing the Evils resulting from this, 
and the destructive consequences which unavoidably would 
follow short Inlistments, I took the Liberty in a long Letter, 
written by myself (date not now recollected, as my Letter Book 
is not here) to recommend the Inlistments for and during the 
War; assigning such Reasons for it, as experience has since 
convinced me were well founded. At that time twenty Dollars 
would, I am persuaded, have engaged the Men for this term. 
But it will not do to look back, and if the present opportunity is 
slip'd, I am perswaded that twelve months more will Increase 
our difficulties fourfold. I shall therefore take the freedom of 
giving it as my opinion, that a good Bounty be immediately 
offered, aided by the proffer of at least ioo, or 150 Acres of 
Land and a suit of Cloaths and Blankt, to each non-Comd. 
Officer and Soldier; as I have good authority for saying, that 
however high the Men's pay may appear, it is barely sufficient 
in the present scarcity and dearness of all kinds of goods, to 

25 See Washington's letter to Congress, Oct. 4, 1776, post. Ford quotes from General 
Greene's letter to Governor Cooke (October 3) on this point: "We want nothing but 
good officers to constitute as good an army as ever marched into the field. Our men 
are much better than the officers." 


keep them in Cloaths, much less afford support to their Fam- 
ilies. If this encouragement then is given to the Men, and such 
Pay allowed the Officers as will induce Gentlemen of Character 
and liberal Sentiments to engage; and proper care and precau- 
tion are used in the nomination (having more regard to the 
Characters of Persons, than the Number of Men they can 
Inlist) we should in a little time have an Army able to cope 
with any that can be opposed to it, as there are excellent Mate- 
rials to form one out of: but while the only merit an Officer 
possesses is his ability to raise Men; while those Men consider, 
and treat him as an equal; and (in the Character of an Officer) 
regard him no more than a broomstick, being mixed together 
as one common herd; no order, nor no discipline can prevail; 
nor will the Officer ever meet with that respect which is essen- 
tially necessary to due subordination. 26 

To place any dependance upon Militia, is, assuredly, resting 
upon a broken staff. Men just dragged from the tender Scenes 
of domestick life; unaccustomed to the din of Arms; totally 
unacquainted with every kind of Military skill, which being 
followed by a want of confidence in themselves, when opposed 
to Troops regularly train'd, disciplined, and appointed, supe- 
rior in knowledge, and superior in Arms, makes them timid, 
and ready to fly from their own shadows. Besides, the sudden 
change in their manner of living, (particularly in the lodging) 
brings on sickness in many; impatience in all, and such an 
unconquerable desire of returning to their respective homes 
that it not only produces shameful, and scandalous Desertions 

28 "To attempt to introduce discipline and subordination into a new army must 
always be a work of much difficulty, but where the principles of democracy so uni- 
versally prevail, where so great an equality and so thorough a levelling spirit pre- 
dominates, either no discipline can be established, or he who attempts it must become 
odious and detestable, a position which no one will choose. It is impossible for any 
one to have an idea of the complete equality which exists between the officers and 
men who composed the greater part of our troops."' — Joseph Reed to Esther Reed 
(his wife), Oct. n, 1776. 


among themselves, but infuses the like spirit in others. Again, 
Men accustomed to unbounded freedom, and no controul, can- 
not brook the Restraint which is indispensably necessary to the 
good order and Government of an Army; without which, 
licentiousness, and every kind of disorder triumpantly reign. 
To bring Men to a proper degree of Subordination, is not the 
work of a day, a Month or even a year; and unhappily for us, 
and the cause we are Engaged in, the little discipline I have 
been labouring to establish in the Army under my immediate 
Command, is in a manner done away by having such a mix- 
ture of Troops as have been called together within these few 

Relaxed, and unfit, as our Rules and Regulations of War are, 
for the Government of an Army, the Militia (those properly so 
called, for of these we have two sorts, the Six Months Men 
and those sent in as a temporary aid) do not think themselves 
subject to 'em, and therefore take liberties, which the Soldier is 
punished for; this creates jealousy; jealousy begets dissatisfac- 
tion, and these by degrees ripen into Mutiny ; keeping the whole 
Army in a confused, and disordered State; rendering the time 
of those who wish to see regularity and good Order prevail 
more unhappy than Words can describe. Besides this, such re- 
peated changes take place, that all arrangement is set at nought, 
and the constant fluctuation of things, deranges every plan, as 
fast as adopted. 

These Sir, Congress may be assured, are but a small part of 
the Inconveniences which might be enumerated and attributed 
to Militia; but there is one that merits particular attention, and 
that is the expence. Certain I am, that it would be cheaper to 
keep 50, or 100,000 Men in constant pay than to depend upon 
half the number, and supply the other half occasionally by Mi- 
litia. The time the latter is in pay before and after they are in 


Camp, assembling and Marching; the waste of Ammunition; 
the consumption of Stores, which in spite of every Resolution, 
and requisition of Congress they must be furnished with, or 
sent home, added to other incidental expences consequent upon 
their coming, and conduct in Camp, surpasses all Idea, and de- 
stroys every kind of regularity and oeconomy which you could 
establish among fixed and Settled Troops; and will, in my opin- 
ion prove (if the scheme is adhered to) the Ruin of our Cause. 
The Jealousies of a standing Army, and the Evils to be appre- 
hended from one, are remote; and in my judgment, situated 
and circumstanced as we are, not at all to be dreaded; but the 
consequence of wanting one, according to my Ideas, formed 
from the present view of things, is certain, and inevitable Ruin; 
for if I was called upon to declare upon Oath, whether the 
Militia have been most serviceable or hurtful upon the whole; 
I should subscribe to the latter. I do not mean by this however 
to arraign the Conduct of Congress, in so doing I should equally 
condemn my own measures, (if Ididnotmyjudgment) ;butex- 
perience, which is the best criterion to work by, so fully, clearly, 
and decisively reprobates the practice of trusting to Militia, that 
no Man who regards order, regularity, and oeconomy; or who 
has any regard for his own honour, Character, or peace of Mind, 
will risk them upon this Issue. 27 

"Congress had, before this letter reached it, resolved (September 16) on a bounty of 
$20 and ioo acres of land to each noncommissioned officer and private soldier; the 
commissioned officers were to receive bounties in land only, scaled according to rank. 
September 20 Congress resolved to raise a new army and provided for supplies, etc. 
In transmitting these resolves to the States, President Hancock made liberal use of 
this Washington letter, sometimes copying whole sentences verbatim. Ford quotes 
General Greene's letter of September 28 as more outspoken in opinion of where the 
blame should rest. " The policy of Congress has been the most absurd and ridiculous 
imaginable, pouring in militia-men who come and go every month. A military force 
established upon such principles defeats itself. . . . The Congress goes upon a penu- 
rious plan. The present pay of the officers will not support them, and it is generally 
determined by the best officers to quit the service, unless a more adequate provision 
is made for their support. The present establishment is not thought reputable. The 
Congress have never furnished the men voted by near one half, certainly by above 
a third. Had we numbers we need not have retreated from Long Island or New 
York. . . . We must have an army to meet the enemy everywhere, to act offensively 


No less attention should be paid to the choice of Surgeons 
than other Officers of the Army; they should undergo a regular 
examination; and if not appointed by the Director Genl. and 
Surgeons of the Hospital, they ought to be subordinate to, 
and governed by his directions; the Regimental Surgeons I am 
speaking of, many of whom are very great Rascals, counte- 
nancing the Men in sham Complaints to exempt them from 
duty, and often receiving Bribes to Certifie Indispositions, with 
a view to procure discharges or Furloughs; but independant of 
these practices, while they are considered as unconnected with 
the Genl. Hospital there will be nothing but continual Com- 
plaints of each other: The Director of the Hospital charging 
them with enormity in their drafts for the Sick; and they him, 
for denying such things as are necessary. In short, there is a con- 
stant bickering among them, which tends greatly to the Injury 
of the Sick; and will always subsist till the Regimental Sur- 
geons are made to look up to the Director Genl. of the Hospital 
as a Superior. Whether this is the case in regular Armies, 
or not, I cannot undertake to say; but certain I am there is a 
necessity for it in this, or the Sick will suffer; the Regimental 
Surgeons are aiming, I am persuaded, to break up the Genl. 
Hospital, and have, in numberless Instances, drawn for Medi- 
cines, Stores &ca. in the most profuse and extravagant manner, 
for private purposes. 28 

as well as defensively. Our soldiers are as good as ever were; and were the officers 
half as good as the men, they would beat any army on the globe of equal numbers." 

In a letter to General Gates (October 14), General Lee expressed his opinion of Con- 
gress and of the army in a laconic but characteristic manner. "I write this scrawl," 
he says, " in a hurry. Colonel Wood will describe the position of our army, which, 
in my own breast, I do not approve. Inter nos Congress seem to stumble at every step. 
I have been very free in delivering my opinion to them. General Washington is much 
to blame in not menacing them with resignation, unless they refrain from unhinging 
the army by their absurd interference." 

On receiving this letter (September 30) a resolution was passed by Congress 
requesting the several States to appoint skillful surgeons and physicians to examine 
the surgeons and surgeons' mates who offered themselves to serve in the army or 
navy, and declaring that no commission should be issued to any who should not 
produce a certificate from such examiners that they were qualified for the duties of 
their office. 


Another matter highly worthy of attention, is, that other 
Rules and Regulation's may be adopted for the Government 
of the Army than those now in existence, otherwise the Army, 
but for the name, might as well be disbanded. For the most 
attrocious offences, (one or two Instances only excepted) a 
Man receives no more than 39 Lashes; and these perhaps (thro' 
the collusion of the Officer who is to see it inflicted), are given 
in such a manner as to become rather a matter of sport than 
punishment; but when inflicted as they ought, many hardend 
fellows who have been the Subjects, have declared that for a 
bottle of Rum they would undergo a Second operation; it is 
evident therefore that this punishment is inadequate to many 
Crimes it is assigned to, as a proof of it, thirty and 40 Soldiers 
will desert at a time; and of late, a practice prevails, (as you will 
see by my Letter of the 22d) of the most alarming nature; and 
which will, if it cannot be checked, prove fatal both to the 
Country and Army; I mean the infamous practice of Plunder- 
ing, for under the Idea of Tory property, or property which 
may fall into the hands of the Enemy, no Man is secure in his 
effects, and scarcely in his Person; for in order to get at them, 
we have several Instances of People being frightned out of their 
Houses under pretence of those Houses being ordered to be 
burnt, and this is done with a view of siezing the Goods; nay, 
in order that the villany may be more effectually concealed, 
some Houses have actually been burnt to cover the theft. 

I have with some others, used my utmost endeavours to stop 
this horrid practice, but under the present lust after plunder, 
and want of Laws to punish Offenders, I might almost as well 
attempt to remove Mount Atlas. — I have ordered instant cor- 
poral Punishment upon every Man who passes our Lines, or is 
seen with Plunder, that the Offenders might be punished for 
disobedience of Orders; and Inclose you the proceedings of a 


Court Martial held upon an Officer, who with a Party of Men 
had robbd a House a little beyond our Lines of a Number of 
valuable Goods; among which (to shew that nothing escapes) 
were four large Pier looking Glasses, Women's Cloaths, and 
other Articles which one would think, could be of no Earthly 
use to him. He was met by a Major of Brigade who ordered 
him to return the Goods, as taken contrary to Genl. Orders, 
which he not only peremptorily refused to do, but drew up 
his Party and swore he would defend them at the hazard of his 
Life; on which I ordered him to be arrested, and tryed for 
Plundering, Disobedience of Orders, and Mutiny; for the Re- 
sult, I refer to the Proceedings of the Court; whose judgment 
appeared so exceedingly extraordinary, 29 that I ordered a Recon- 
sideration of the matter, upon which, and with the Assistance 
of fresh evidence, they made Shift to Cashier him. 

I adduce this Instance to give some Idea to Congress of the 
Currt. Sentiments and general run of the Officers which com- 
pose the present Army ; and to shew how exceedingly necessary 
it is to be careful in the choice of the New Sett, even if it should 
take double the time to compleat the Levies. An Army formed 
of good Officers moves like Clock-Work; but there is no Situa- 
tion upon Earth, less enviable, nor more distressing, than that 
Person's who is at the head of Troops, who are regardless of 
Order and discipline; and who are unprovided with almost 
every necessary. In a word the difficulties which have forever 

29 Washington's many difficulties in enforcing discipline in an Army which had to 
be handled carefully with an eye to reenlistments are pictured in the General Orders. 
The court decided that Ensign Matthew Macumber, of the Sixteenth Continental In- 
fantry, was not guilty of plundering but was guilty of insubordination and disrespect 
to his superior officer. The sentence was that he apologize and be reprimanded before 
the regiment. The copy of the court's proceedings forwarded to Congress bears this 
note in Washington's writing: "It is to be observed that the Men who were to share 
the Plunder became the Evidences for the Prisoner G. W — n." (See General Orders, 
Sept. 22, 1776, ante.) On September 30 Congress directed that the court assign its 
reasons for the acquittal and that the same be forwarded to Congress. The court, 
however, attempted to justify its verdict in a report, dated October 7, which was 
forwarded to Congress by Washington on October 8. 


surrounded me since I have been in the Service, and kept my 
Mind constantly upon the stretch; The Wounds which my Feel- 
ings as an Officer have received by a thousand things which 
have happened, contrary to my expectation and Wishes; the 
effect of my own Conduct, and present appearance of things, 
so little pleasing to myself, as to render it a matter of no Sur- 
prize (to me) if I should stand capitally censured by Congress; 
added to a consciousness of my inability to govern an Army 
composed of such discordant parts, and under such a variety 
of intricate and perplexing circumstances; induces not only a 
belief, but a thorough conviction in my Mind, that it will be 
impossible unless there is a thorough change in our Military 
Systems for me to conduct matters in such a manner, as to give 
satisfaction to the Publick which is all the recompence I aim 
at, or ever wished for. 30 

Before I conclude I must apologize for the liberties taken in 
this Letter and for the blots and scratchings therein, not having 
time to give it more correctly. With truth I can add, that with 
every Sentiment of respect and esteem. I am etc. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, September 25, 1776. 
Sir: Having wrote you fully on sundry important subjects 
this Morning, as you will perceive by the Letter which accompa- 
nies this, I mean principally now to inclose a Copy of a Letter, 

ao On September 20 Congress appointed Roger Sherman, Elbridge Gerry, and Fran- 
cis Lewis a committee to visit camp " to enquire into the State of the Army, and the 
best means of supplying their wants." They reached camp the 24th and conferred 
with the general officers the 26th and 27th. Their report was rendered October 3. 
In the Washington Papers are 12 "Queries to be made at Head Quarters" with 
answers to the first two in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison, which established 
the strength needed for the Army at 40,000, exclusive of the Flying Camp. (See 
Journals of the Continental Congress, Oct. 3, 8, and 9, 1776.) The committee recom- 
mended that Brig. Gen. Thomas Mifflin should replace Col. Stephen Moylan at the 
head of the Quartermaster Department. 


received from General Howe on Sunday Evening, with the 
lists of the Prisoners in his hands and of those in our possession 
belonging to the Army immediately under his command, and 
of my Answer, which were omitted to be put in the other. 

His letter will discover to Congress his refusal to exchange 
Lord Stirling for Mr. McDonald, considering the latter, only 
as a Major. They will be pleased to determine how he is to be 
ranked in future. 

The Number of Prisoners according to these returns, is greater 
than what we expected. However I am inclined to believe, that 
among those in the list from Long Island are several Militia 
of General Woodhull's party, who were never arranged in this 
Army. As to those taken on the 15th, they greatly exceed the 
number that I supposed fell into their hands in the retreat from 
the City. At the time that I transmitted an Account of that 
affair, I had not obtained returns and took the matter upon 
the Officers Reports. They are difficult to get with certainty at 
any time. In the skirmish of Monday sennight, they could not 
have taken but very few. Before I conclude, I shall take occa- 
sion to mention, that these returns, made with such precision, 
and the difficulty that will attend the proposed exchange on 
account of the dispersed and scattered state of the prisoners, in 
our hands, will clearly evince the necessity of appointing Com- 
missarys and proper persons to superintend and conduct in 
such instances. 31 This I took the liberty of urging more than 
once, as well on Account of the propriety of the measure and 
the saving that would have resulted from it, as that the Pris- 
oners might be treated with humanity and have their wants 
particularly attended to. 

I would also observe, as I esteem it my duty, that this Army 
is in want of almost every necessary: Tents, Camp Kettles, 

31 On October 7 Congress resolved that a commissary of prisoners be appointed in 
each of the States and that the respective States make the appointments. 


Blanketts and Clothes of all kinds; But what is to be done 
with respect to the two last Articles I know not, as the Term 
of Inlistment will be nearly expired by the time they can be 
provided. This may be exhibited as a further proof of the dis- 
advantage attending the levying of an Army upon such a foot- 
ing, as never to know how to keep them without injuring the 
Public, or incommoding the Men. 

I have directed the Colonel or Commanding Officer of each 
Corps, to use his endeavours to procure such Cloathing as are 
absolutely necessary, but at the same time I confess that I do not 
know how they are to be got. I have the Honor etc. 32 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, September 25, 1776. 

Parole Cumberland. Countersign Pitt. 

Col. Sergeant is to send to the Provost Guard the Soldiers, 
who were with Ensign McCrumber, and charged with plun- 
dering at Harlem. 

The Brigadiers who are in want of tents for their Brigades, 
are to meet at the Quarter Master General's this Afternoon, 
four O'clock, and divide such as are on hand among them. 

Such Regiments of Militia, as have returned, to the Quarter 
Master General, the Articles belonging to the public they have 
received; and to their respective Brigadiers, the Ammunition 
they have drawn, of which they are first to produce Certifi- 
cates, are discharged, and may return home, as soon as they 
think proper. 

The General hopes the commanding Officers, and all others, 
of those Regiments, will take care that no other Men mix with 
them when going off — and that particular Care be taken, that 
no Horses be carried away by the men, but what are certainly 
and properly employed in that service. 

32 In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 



Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, September 26, 1776. 

Parole Halifax. Countersign Georgia. 

The Court Martial of which Col Magaw is President, having 
found that Lieut. Stewart, 33 struck Serjeant Philips, 34 but that 
he was provoked so to do by the latter, and acquitted him of 
"threatening the life of Col Silliman" — 

The General approves the sentence, and orders Lieut. Stew- 
art to be discharged from his arrest. 

The same Court Martial having tried and convicted Lieut. 
Danl. Pelton, of Col Ritzema's Regiment, of leaving Camp, 
two days, and being absent without leave, the Court orders him 
to be mulcted of one Months pay — The General approves the 
Sentence, and directs that care be taken accordingly in the next 

Serjt. Philips of Capt. Hubbels Company, and Col Silliman's 
Regiment, tried by the same Court Martial for "Cowardice and 
leaving his party on the 17th. Instant," was acquitted; the Gen- 
eral approves the sentence and orders him discharged. 

The Regiments of Militia which composed the Brigades 
commanded by Cols. Douglas and Silliman, being dismissed; 
those Regiments are to join their former brigades. 

Courts-Martial for the trial of Desertion, and other Crimes, 
not capital, are immediately to be formed in the several 
Brigades, and the sentences, when approved by the Brigadier, 
immediately executed. 

Col Magaw being necessarily detained from the Court Mar- 
tial, Col Ewing is to preside during his absence. 

The General expects, and insists, that all the plunder, and 
other things, found in consequence of the examination lately 
made, be sent immediately to the White House, on the Road 

Lieut. John Steward (Stewart), of Thomas's Independent Maryland company. 
^Sergt. William Phelps (Philips), of Silliman's Connecticut State regiment. 


near Head Quarters, delivered to the Captain of the Guard to be 
deposited there, 'till farther Orders — Colonels, and command- 
ing Officers of Regiments are to see that it is done immediately. 

The officer commanding the Rangers may give passes to any 
of his own parties, but to none others. 

Upon any Alarm, or Approach of the Enemy towards our 
lines, Genl. Mifflin, with his Brigade, is to possess our left-flank 
from the hollow-way, by Col Sergeant's late Encampment, to 
the point of Rocks, on the left-front of our lines; and 'till the 
Regiment commanded by Col. Weedon is brigaded, is to be 
joined by the same — Genl. McDougalPs Brigade is to repair to 
the plains back of Genl. Mifflin, and be ready to support him 
or thepicquet in thefront as occasion may require — Genl. Bell's 
Brigade is to repair to the lines which cross the road by Col 
Moylan's lodging, and to extend their right-flank to the middle 
Redoubt by Mr. Kartright's house, occupying the same — Genl 
Wadsworthand Fellows are to take the remaining part of these 
lines, with the Redoubt therein on the North River — These 
three Brigades to defend these lines, or wait there for Orders — 
Genl. Heard's is to parade, and be ready to march wherever 
ordered — Genl. Putnam is to command in front of the lines by 
Mr. Kartright's — Genl. Spencer in the Rear of them. 


Colonel Morris's at Harlem, September 26, 1776. 
Dear Sir: If the Troops at this Post, can be prevailed upon to 
defend it as they should do, it must cost General Howe a great 
many Men to carry it, if he succeeds at all. If this should happen 
to be his Opinion there is scarce a doubt but that he will turn 
his thoughts another way, as inactivity is not to be expected 
from him. Whither his Operations may be directed is uncer- 
tain, perhaps an irruption into the Jerseys. Possibly he may 


bend his course towards Philadela. (for I conceive that 2000 
Men with the Assistance of their Shipping will effectually pre- 
serve New York against our whole Strength,) Or which in my 
Judgment is exceedingly probable, knowing that the Troops 
are drawn off from the Southern Colonies, he may detach a 
part of the Army to the Southward, for a Winter's Campaign, 
as was recommended to him last Fall by Lord Dunmore. 35 

In either of these Cases, it behoves us to keep the best look 
out, and to obtain the earliest intelligence possible of the Ene- 
my's motions, and as it is now the current Opinion, that the 
Shipping are greatly thinned, I earnestly recommend to you 
the Necessity of having Sensible and Judicious Persons in dif- 
ferent places to observe the movements of the Shipping, among 
others at the Neversinks, for if they should send out a fleet 
without our giving notice of it to Congress we shall be thought 
exceedingly remiss. In short, I intreat you to exert your best 
endeavours to obtain every useful Intelligence you possibly can 
of the Enemy's motions by Sea and Land, in doing this Money 
may be required, and do not spare it. Communicate everything 
of Importance to me with dispatch and be assured that I am, etc. 


Colo. Morris's at Harlem, September 26, 1776. 
Dear Sir: I should be glad if you would order Genl. Salten- 
stall to draw as much Powder as will compleat his Militia to 

5 Ford quotes two letters, written from New York City on September 26 and 28: 
" On the 23d Gen. Howe left this garrison 4,000 strong under the command of Gen. 
Robinson, and made a feint as if he intended attacking the rebels at King's Bridge 
with the main body of the army; previous measures had been taken to embark two 
squadrons, which was so privately done, that even the troops who were immediately 
engaged knew not their destination till they were landed at Perth Amboy, which 
they took without opposition, together with 500 prisoners." 

"The army have, for these last two days, been under orders to hold themselves in 
readiness to march, but whither no one knows; some think it is to King's Bridge, 
while others think it is intended to cross the North River, and proceed through the 
Jerseys towards Philadelphia." 


about fifteen or 18 Rounds a Man; as also Lead if they have it 
not, and Cartridge Paper that they may make their own Car- 
tridges; at the sametime let him know, and desire him to Im- 
press it strongly upon the Minds of his Men, that they must 
acct. for every Load which is not used in Action. 

Be so good as to request, in my name, General Clinton's 
attendance at Head Quarters with you at Nine Oclock this fore- 
noon on the business I mentioned to you yesterday. I am, etc. 



Harlem Heights, September 26, 1776. 

Sir : Your favor of the 20th. Inst, is duly received. The Several 
Regiments of Militia from Connecticut, lately Commanded by 
Genl. Wolcot, being reduced to almost nothing; one having re- 
turned under twenty and another short of thirty effective Men; 
they were yesterday discharged. I am full in Opinion with you, 
that some severe Examples ought to be made of the late desert- 
ers ; for a Return of their Names, I must refer you to the Several 
Commanding Officers of the different Regiments. I hope these 
under Brigadier Saltonstall, may shew a better Spirit. 

A proposal for an immediate exchange of Prisoners has been 
made by General Howe, agreeable to the Resolve of Congress. 
I am to request a return, as soon as possible, of all those in Con- 
necticut, mentioning their Names and Ranks of all Commis- 
sioned Officers, and distinguishing particularly between those 
of the Army and Navy, as well privates as Officers. It appears 
to me, their being Marched to some Convenient Post and Com- 
ing by Water, will be much the most Convenient; at least it 
must save expence and will prevent their having a View of the 
different Towns and their Situations on the Sea Coasts, your 
Sentiments on the Subject, together with the return of the Pris- 
oners, as early as possible, will much Oblige me. I am etc. 



Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, September 27, 1776. 

Dear Sir: I Yesterday received your favor of the 23rd. In- 
stant, the Nails wanted by General Gates cannot be sent from 
hence, our own demands being great and pressing and supplies 
but small. 

In respect to building Barracks in the Town of Schenectady; 
if they are necessary, I suppose it must be done, however, I do 
not apprehend I have any power to give directions in the Case, 
nor do I mean to do it, you had better mention the matter to 
Congress and have their Opinion and Determination upon it. 

A paper, of which the inclosed is a Copy, came to my Hands 
Yesterday Morning. This Account makes the Enemy's Force 
in Canada greater than what we supposed it to be, their Naval 
Force on the Lakes to surpass any thing we had an Idea of. 
The person who communicated it is not known, he however 
I believe is among those sent from Canada by Genl. Carleton 
and who have lately arrived at New York. I am in hopes it is 
a good deal exaggerated. I am, etc. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, September 27, 1776. 

Sir: I have nothing in particular to communicate to Con- 
gress by this days post, as our situation is the same as when 
I last wrote. 

We are now sitting on the business the Committee came 
upon, which it is probable will be finished this Evening, the 
result they will duly report, upon their return. 

I received Yesterday the inclosed Declaration by a Gentleman 
from Eliza. Town, who told me, many Copies were found in 
the possession of the Soldiers from Canada, that were landed 


there a day or two ago by General Howe's permission. I shall 
not comment upon it. It seems to be founded on the plan that 
has been artfully pursued for some time past. 86 I have &ca. 

P. S. The Account of the Troops &ca. in Canada comes from 
a person among the Prisoners sent from Canada. It was Anony- 
mous, nor do I know the Intelligencer; according to him, the 
Enemy in that Quarter are stronger than we supposed and their 
Naval force much greater on the Lakes than we had any Ideas 
of. 37 I trust he has taken the matter upon the Enemy's report. 38 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, September 27, 1776. 

Parole Hampton. Countersign Walton. 

Lieut. Drake S9 of Col Philip's Regt., tried by a Court Martial, 
whereof Col Ewing was President for "Leaving the Regiment 
without permission of his commanding Officer, and being ab- 
sent twenty days" — was acquitted. 

The General approves the Sentence and orders him to be 

The Returns are expected to morrow at Orderly time, which 
the Brigade Majors and Adjutants would do well to attend to. 

The General is not more surprised than vexed, to find, that 
in spite of all his care to prevent unnecessary firing, and waste 
of Ammunition, that every afternoon produces fresh instances of 
the shameful discharge of Muskets, when there has been no 
rain to wet, or otherwise injure the loads — He now positively 
orders that there shall be no firing, without leave from the 
Brigadier of the Brigade, the men belong to; who are to inquire 
minutely into the necessity of the case, and whether the Pieces 

36 A broadside of Howe's declaration of September 19. 

37 A copy of this estimate of the British strength in Canada was also sent to Schuyler 
on September 27. 

38 In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 

39 Lieut. Henry Drake, of Phillips's New Jersey militia. 


cannot be drawn without — The General also directs, that none 
but the Out-Sentries, shall ever have their Musquets loaded; 
and if those would be watchful, and vigilant on their posts, 
they need not load till occasion should require it. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, September 28, 1776. 

Parole Stamford. Countersign Rye. 

Mr. Finn Wadsworth is appointed Major of Brigade to 
Genl. Wadsworth. 

William Higgins of Capt. Hamilton's Company of the Ar- 
tillery convicted by a General Court Martial whereof Col 
Weedon is President of "Plundering and stealing" — ordered 
to be whipped Thirty-nine lashes. 

The General approves the sentence, and orders it to be exe- 
cuted to morrow morning at the usual time and place. 

A number of the new Rules and Regulations of the Army 
having come to hand, the several Brigades Major are to receive 
their proportion, and deliver them to commanding Officers of 
the several Regiments, who are immediately to cause them to 
be read to their Regiments, and made known to both Officers 
and Men so that there may be no pretence of ignorance. 

It is with great Concern the General finds, that so many ex- 
cuses are made by Field Officers, and others, when ordered on 
duty, especially on Picquet — By this means, active and willing 
Officers are discouraged — He hopes triffling Reasons and slight 
Complaints will not be urged to avoid duty when the utmost 
Vigilance and Care is necessary. 

The General has also, in riding thro' the Camps, observed, 
a shameful waste of provision; large pieces of fine Beef not only 
thrown away, but left above ground to putrify — While such 
practices continue, troops will be sickly — The Colonels or 
commanding Officers of Regiments, who have not done it, are 


immediately to appoint Camp-Colour-Men; and Officers who 
have spirit and zeal will see that all such Nuisances are re- 
moved — Some of the Camps nearest to Head Quarters are very 
faulty in this respect and will be pointed out in General Orders, 
if there is not a Reformation. 

Stephen Moylan Esqr. having resigned his Office of Quarter 
Master General — Brigadier General Mifflin is appointed thereto 
'till the pleasure of Congress is known. 

The Quarter Master General will deliver to Genl. Spencer's 
order, such tents as are wanting for the Regiments in Wads- 
worth's and Fellows's Brigades. 

That the approach of the Enemy to the front of our lines may 
be communicated as speedily as possible — Two Field Pieces are 
to be fired by Order of the Brigadier of the day, at the Redoubt 
on the road by Col Moylan's — This to be repeated by two others 
at Head Quarters, and the like number at Mount-Washington. 

Col Shee is to take charge of Genl Mifflin's Brigade till fur- 
ther Orders. 

Genl. Saltanstall is to order in four of the Militia Regiments, 
under his command, who are to encamp on the hill opposite to 
Fort-Washington, towards the point opposite to the Encamp- 
ment on the other side Harlem River. 

The General desires that the several Works, in which we are 
now engaged may be advanced as fast as possible, as it is essen- 
tially necessary. 

In future, when an Officer is ordered on duty, and through 
Illness, or any other private Reason, cannot attend, he is to pro- 
cure one of equal Rank, to do the duty for him, unless some 
extraordinary reason, should occasion an application to Head 
Quarters; otherwise a regular Roster can never be kept. 

The Brigade Majors are to furnish the Chief Engineer, with 
a detail of the men, from their respective Brigades, ordered for 

1776] TENT BOARDS 127 

fatigue — this is to be left at his Office near Head-Quarters, and 
when any alteration is made, they are to give him a new detail. 

Major Bicker 40 is ordered to attend the Works and be excused 
from other duty. 

Any Soldier detected in cutting any Abbatis, without Orders 
from the Chief Engineer, is to be sent to the Provost-Guard, 
and tried by a General Court Martial. — Officers are desired to 
put a Stop to so dangerous a practice immediately. 

Fatigue Men are to breakfast before they go to Parade, No 
man to be allowed to return hereafter to his Tent or Quarters 
on this account. 

The building up Tents with Boards, is a practice peculiar to 
this Army, and in our present situation cannot be indulged, 
without the greatest Injury to the service — The Boards brought 
into Camp are for Floors to the Tents, and officers will do well, 
immediately to prevent their being applied to any other use. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, September 28, 1776. 
Sir: Being about to cross the North River this morning, in 
order to view the posts opposite [Mount Washington] and the 
grounds between that and Powles Hook, I shall not add much 
more, than that I have been honored with your favor of the 
24th : and its several inclosures and that since my Letter of Yes- 
terday no important event has taken place. 41 

*°Maj. Henry Bicker, of the Third Pennsylvania Regiment. He was transferred to 
the Tenth Pennsylvania Regiment Oct. 25, 1776; promoted to lieutenant colonel of the 
Sixth Pennsylvania Regiment Dec. 5, 1776; colonel of the Second Pennsylvania Regi- 
ment June 6, 1777; retired July 1, 1778. 

"Before September 23 General Greene had been placed in command on the Jersey 
side of the North River. The Flying Camp, under General Mercer, was stationed in 
detachments at Newark Ferry, Elizabethtown,Woodbridge,andAmboy; each detach- 
ment was supported by two pieces of artillery, except that at Amboy, where there was 
four pieces and over 1 ,700 men. 


As Col: Hugh Stephenson of the Rifle Regiment ordered 
lately to be raised, is dead, according to the information I have re- 
ceived,! would beg leave to recommend to the particular notice 
of Congress, Captain Daniel Morgan, just returned among the 
Prisoners from Canada, as a fit and proper person to succeed to 
the vacancy occasioned by his Death. The present Field Offi- 
cers of the Regiment cannot claim any right in preference to 
him, because he ranked above them as a Captain when he first 
entered the service; His Conduct as an Officer on the expedi- 
tion with General Arnold last fall, his intrepid behavior in 
the Assault on Quebec when the brave Montgomery fell; — the 
inflexible attachment he professed to our Cause during his im- 
prisonment and which he perseveres in; added to these his res- 
idence in the place Col: Stevenson came from and his Interest 
and influence in the same circle and with such men as are to 
compose such a Regiment ; all in my Opinion entitle him to the 
favor of Congress, and lead me to believe, that in his promo- 
tion, the States will gain a good and valuable Officer for the sort 
of Troops he is particularly recommended to command. 

Should Congress be pleased to appoint Capt. Morgan in the 
instance I have mentioned, I would still beg leave to suggest 
the propriety and necessity of keeping the matter close and not 
suffering it to transpire, until he is exonerated from the parole 
he is under. His acceptance of a commission under his present 
circumstances, might be construed a violation of his Engage- 
ment, and if not, the difficulty attending his exchange might 
be increased: The Enemy perhaps would consider him as a 
Field Officer, of which we have but very few in our hands and 
none that I recollect of that rank. 42 I have &ca. 43 

43 Congress commissioned Morgan colonel of the Eleventh Virginia Regiment on 
Nov. 12, 1776, but he was not exchanged until 1777. He joined the Army at Morris- 
town, N. J., late in March; was appointed brigadier general Oct. 13, 1780; was 
thanked and presented with a medal by Congress Mar. 9, 1781, for his victory at 
Cowpens, S. C, on January 17 of that year. 

43 In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. The words in brackets are in the draft 
but are not in the letter sent. 



Head Quarters, Heights of Harlem, 
September 29, 1776. 
Sir: I have been favored with a Letter from his Excellency 
General Howe of the 21st. instant on the Subject of an Ex- 
change of Prisoners both Officers and Privates. To carry this 
into Execution it is necessary that the Numbers on both Sides 
should be exactly ascertained; in order to determine this, Gen- 
eral Howe sent me a List of the Officers and Privates of the 
42d and 71st. Regimts. of which the inclosed is a Copy. But 
adds "it is not so correct as I could wish having received no 
regular Returns of the 42d.and 71st. Regiments taken this year, 
but beg leave to refer you to Lt. Col: Campbell of the 71st. to 
rectify any omissions that may be"; I have therefore to desire, 
that you would as soon as possible make the proper additions 
or Alterations and return the same to me. I am Sir, etc. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, September 29, 1776. 
Gentn. : Genl. Howe having signified to me, a desire of mak- 
ing a general exchange of Prisoners, both Officers and Privates; 
it becomes necessary to have an exact return of the numbers in 
our possession. — You will therefore be pleased, to have all the 
Continental Prisoners of War (belonging to the land Service) 
in the different Towns in your State, collected and brought 
together to some convenient place, from whence they may be 
removed hither when a Cartel is fully settled. When they are 
collected, you will please to have made out, and transmit to me, 
an exact return of the names of the Commissioned and Staff 
Officers, their Ranks and the Corps to which they belong; the 
names of the Non Commissioned and privates need not be 


mentioned, their Numbers will be Sufficient. As it will be more 
convenient to send them by Water than by land, which may 
always be safely effected, by means of a Flag; I think you had 
better order the Prisoners to some place contiguous to a Port, 
there to remain till you hear further from me. As I apprehend 
the Number of Prisoners in the State of New hampshire to be 
too small to make up a freight for a Vessel; I have directed, 
if that should be the Case, that they would be sent to your State, 
that they may come forward with your Prisoners, you will be 
pleased to forward the Inclosed to Lieut. Colo Campbell of the 
71st Regt. I am not certain where he is stationed, but think it 
is at Reading. I have the Honor to be etc. 

P. S. Be pleased also to make a return of the Prisoners be- 
longing to the British Navy, with the names and Ranks of the 
Officers. Inclosed you have a Letter from Capt Campbell 44 of 
the 71st Regt. to me; as he seems to acknowledge his Error 
and promises a more circumspect behaviour in future, I could 
wish you would consider his Case, and if you think proper 
admit him to his parole again. 45 


Head Quarters, Heights of Harlem, 
September 29, 1776. 
Sir: I have been honored with your two favors of the 14th 
and 23d Inst. ; and am to return you my thanks for the Meas- 
ures you have taken, to forward the two Continental Battalions, 
from your State. In respect to the Exchange of the Persons you 
mention, I apprehend it Cannot be effected, till a general one 
takes place. This I am trying to carry into execution as well 

"Capt. Patrick(?) Campbell. 

45 Practically the same letter was sent to the Legislature of New Hampshire. 

"Of Rhode Island. 


with the Naval, as the Land Service; and, therefore, must re- 
quest the favor of your State, to make out and transmit me a 
Return, as soon as possible, of all Continental Prisoners in their 
hands; distinguishing the names and Ranks of the Commis- 
sioned and Staff Officers, and the Corps to which they belong, 
and the Number of non Commissioned and Privates ; observ- 
ing the same Rule in regard to those in the Sea Service. It will 
be well to have the whole Collected at one or two Convenient 
places, in order that they may be sent forward, as soon as the 
Plan is properly digested, of which I shall advise you, as soon 
as I obtain the Return. 

I have wrote to the other Eastern States upon the same Sub- 
ject ; and to me it appears, that the Prisoners with you had better 
join those in Connecticut, that they may come together. I would 
recommend your writing to Governor Trumbull, for Informa- 
tion where their Prisoners are to be Assembled, and for his 
Sentiments in this Instance. It also seems advisable, that they 
should come by water rather than by land; but of this you 
will have due Notice, as I mean to Settle upon some regular 
Mode with the Admiral, and General Howe, against the time 
I am furnished with the Returns of the States. I have the 
honor to be, etc. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, September 29, 1776. 

Parole Fairfield. Countersign Leyden. 

Ensigns Fosdick and Chipman 47 of Col Webb's Regiment 
but lately in a Detachment of Rangers under Capt. Holmes, 48 
having been tried by a General Court Martial whereof Col 
Weedon was President for "Abusive language to their officers — 

"Ensigns Thomas Fosdick and Benoni Chipman. 
* 8 Capt. Thomas(?) Holmes. 


Mutiny and Disobedience of orders" — They are convicted of 
giving abusive language to their Officers, and ordered to be rep- 
rimanded for their Conduct, before the officers of Col Webb's 

The General approves the sentence and orders them to join 
their Regiment, that it may be carried into execution. 

As there is the greatest appearance of bad Weather, the 
General directs and begs that the Officers would have a special 
Care of the Arms and Ammunition, wherever their is a con- 
venient Cover for either — Bell-Tents, or pointed Tents to have 
the Arms and Ammunition put into them. 

He also directs that the several Brigades as soon as the Weather 
admits, be marched down to their Alarm Posts, as fixed in the 
Orders of the 26th. that the troops may know how to repair to 
them and defend them to the best advantage — And that this 
be repeated, until both Officers and Men, are well acquainted 
with the ground and the posts. 

From some discoveries made yesterday, there is reason to 
think, the Enemy meditate a speedy and general Attack; it is 
therefore of great consequence, that we should be well prepar'd 
in all respects to meet it. 

A Court Martial consisting of the following Members, are 
to meet to morrow at ten O'Clock, at the White House near 
Head Quarters, for the Trial of Capt.Weisner 49 and Capt. Scott 
for "Cowardice and Misbehaviour in the Attack made upon 
Montresor's Island on the morning of the 23rd. Instant" — 

Brigadier Genl. [Rezin Beall] President. 

Col [Robert] Magaw, Col [Silas] Newcomb, Lt. Col. [Dan- 
iel] Brodhead, Major [Ezra] Putnam, Major [Edward] Mott, 
Capt. [Ebenezer] Winship, Col [Jonathan] Holman, Lt Col 
[Lambert] Cadwallader, Lt. Col [Giles] Russell, Major 

40 Capt. John Wisner. 


[William] Hopewell, Capt. [John] Beatty, Capt. [ ] 

Gillet, Members. 60 
All Evidences are directed to be punctual in their attendance. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, September 30, 1776. 

Parole Norfolk. Countersign York. 

The movements of the Enemy indicating a speedy Attack, 
the officers of the several Regiments, of all Ranks, are to be 
very attentive to the state of the Arms and Ammunition of 
their respective regiments, and to be particularly alert in Case 
of Alarm. 

The Order of yesterday, with respect to the Troops march- 
ing to their Alarm Posts, and making themselves acquainted 
with the Guard, is to be carried into execution immediately. 

Ammunition Boxes in each Regiment, not having Ammu- 
nition in them, are to be collected that they may be filled — 
Commanding Officers of Regiments will send them to their 
respective Brigadier's Quarters immediately. 

All the Troops are every Morning to be under Arms a little 
before break of day — and continue 'till Sun-rise, when they 
may be dismissed — As the preservation of our Country may 
depend very much on a strict obedience to this Order, it is 

00 The court assembled (September 30), but with Capt. Alexander Graydon, of the 
Third Pennsylvania Regiment, and Capt. Christopher Stuart, of the Fourth Pennsyl- 
vania Regiment, as additional members, apparently in place of Lieutenant Colonel 
Brodhead and Captain Gillet. Col. Jonathan Holman was not a member. The pro- 
ceedings are entirely concerned with Wisner, and the record ignores Scott. The 
sentence was that Wisner, of Nicolls's New York levies, be cashiered. Washington 
was astounded and informed the court, through Adjutant General Reed, that the ver- 
dict for such an offense should have been either death or acquittal. The letter of the 
court to Adjutant General Reed, justifying the verdict, is signed by all the court and 
does not allude to Capt. John Budd Scott, of the Second New Jersey Regiment, who 
is noted in Heitman's Register as having been cashiered November 2 and gone over 
to the British shortly thereafter. The letter of the court, dated Oct. 6, 1776, is in the 
Washington Papers. 


hoped that commanding Officers of Brigades and Regiments 
will pay a special attention to it. 

A working party of 1200 Men, exclusive of those at Mount 
Washington, to parade at the usual place, at seven OClock 
in the morning, properly officered, for the Engineer's depart- 
ment — Fellows's and Wadsworth's Brigades to take their tools 
at Quarter Master Stone's quarters, nigh to Genl. Spencer's 
quarters. Major Clift and Capt. Parsons 51 will attend them. 
Col Weedon's Regt. will take their Orders from Lt. Col. Mar- 
shall. 52 The Overseers of the works will attend at the Engineer's 
Office every morning, to receive their Orders and parties. The 
number of fatigue men not to be lessened till further orders. 
The Engineer must have a list of the several Brigades, and the 
number of men they furnish for the works, or he never can 
proportion the men to the works in a proper manner. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, September 30, 1776. 

Sir: Since I had the Honor of addressing you last, nothing 
of importance has transpired, tho' from some Movements Yes- 
terday on the part of the Enemy, it would seem as if some thing 
was Intended. 

The inclosed memorial from Lieut. Colonel Shephard 53 of the 
4th. Regiment, I beg leave to submit to the consideration of 
Congress and shall only add, that I could wish they would pro- 
mote him to the command of the Regiment and send him a 
commission, being a good and valuable officer, and especially 
as the vacancy is of a pretty long standing and I have not had 

"Maj. Waterman Clift, of Selden's Connecticut regiment, and Capt. Hezekiah Par- 
sons, of Sage's Connecticut regiment. 

"Lieut. Col. Thomas Marshall, of the Third Virginia Regiment. He was promoted 
to colonel Feb. 21, 1777; resigned on December 4; reentered the service, and was 
taken prisoner at Charleston, S. C, May 12, 1780. 

53 Lieut. Col. William Shepard (Shephard, Shepherd, Sheperd), of the Third Con- 
tinental Infantry. He was promoted to colonel Jan. 1, 1777, to rank from May 4, 
1776; retired Jan. 1, 1783. 

1776] PROMOTIONS 135 

nor has he any intelligence from Colo. Learned 54 himself, who 
had the command and who obtained a discharge on account of 
his indisposition, of his design to return. I have also inclosed 
a Letter from Captain Ballard, 55 which Congress will please 
to determine on, the Subject being new and not within my 
Authority. Ihave&ca. 

P. S : A Commission was sent for Col : Learned which is now 
in my hands, having received no application or heard from 
him since it came. 56 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, September 30, 1776. 
Gentlemen: Having considered the inclosed Memorial, 87 
which you were pleased to transmit for my advice thereon, 
I beg leave to inform you, that in my Opinion, the service will 
be most advanced in general cases, by directing promotions in 
a Regimental line. However, I should think this had better be 
practised than Resolved on; always exercising a right of promo- 
tion on Account of extraordinary Merit, or preventing a suc- 
cession to Office where it is wanting, and the person claiming 
unfit for it. I have the Honor to be etc. 


Head Quarters, Heights of Harlem, 
September 30, 1776. 
Sir : Having received authentic advices from Long Island, that 
the Enemy are recruiting a great number of Men with much 
success, and Collecting large Quantities of Stock throughout 

^Col. Ebenezer Learned, of the Third Continental Infantry. 
Capt. Robert Ballard, of the First Virginia Regiment. He became a major, then 
lieutenant colonel, and finally resigned July 4, 1779. His letter, dated Sept. 26, 1776, 
requesting leave to resign, is in the Papers of the Continental Congress. 

o7 In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 

A«* ^ i hC SeC ° nd Heut ? nants o£ th = First Virginia Regiment. The memorial was 
dated April 14, is unsigned, and is in the Papers of the Continental Congress. 


the Island for their Support; I have directed Brigadier Genl 
Clinton forthwith to repair to Fairfield to meet Genl. Lincoln, 
on his march hither with a part of the Troops lately Voted by 
the Massachusetts State, to reinforce this Army; in order to 
concert with him an expedition to the Island, to check and sup- 
press, if possible, a practice so injurious and detrimental to our 
Cause. These Gentn. will wait on you for your advice in the 
Matter, if time and the Situation of things will admit of it, and 
with a view of obtaining such Aid as you and they may judge 
necessary to facilitate the Enterprize. However, if it should not 
be in their Power, personally, to attend you, I must take the 
Liberty of requesting your good offices upon this Occasion, and 
that you will afford them every Assistance that you conven- 
iently can and they may require, either in Men, Vessels, &c. for 
carrying their Scheme into execution. 

It is absolutely necessary, that the Measures of the Enemy 
should be effectually counteracted in this Instance, or, in a little 
time, they will levy no inconsiderable Army of our own People. 
The influence of their Money and their artifices have already 
passed the Sound, and several have been detected of late, who 
had enlisted to serve under their banner and the particular 
Command of Major Rogers. 58 

Being in haste, and having the fullest confidence that your 
favors will not be wanting in this Instance, I have only time to 
add, that, I have the honor to be &ca. 


Col. Morris's, on the Heights of Harlem, 
September 30, 1776. 
Dear Lund: Your letter of the 18th, which is the only one 
received and unanswered, now lies before me. The amazement 
which you seem to be in at the unaccountable measures which 

M Maj. Robert Rogers. 


have been adopted by 59 would be a good deal increased if 

I had time to unfold the whole system of their management 
since this time twelve months. I do not know how to account 
for the unfortunate steps which have been taken but from that 
fatal idea of conciliation which prevailed so long — fatal, I call 
it, because from my soul I wish it may [not] prove so, though 
my fears lead me to think there is too much danger of it. This 
time last year I pointed out the evil consequences of short en- 
listments, the expenses of militia, and the little dependence 
that was to be placed in them. I assured [Congress] that the 
longer they delayed raising a standing army, the more difficult 
and chargeable would they find it to get one, and that, at the 
same time that the militia would answer no valuable purpose, 
the frequent calling them in would be attended with an ex- 
pense, that they could have no conception of. Whether, as 
I have said before, the unfortunate hope of reconciliation was 
the cause, or the fear of a standing army prevailed, I will not 
undertake to say; but the policy was to engage men for twelve 
months only. The consequence of which, you have had great 
bodies of militia in pay that never were in camp; you have had 
immense quantities of provisions drawn by men that never 
rendered you one hour's service (at least usefully), and this in 
the most profuse and wasteful way. Your stores have been 
expended, and every kind of military [discipline?] destroyed 
by them; your numbers fluctuating, uncertain, and forever far 
short of report — at no one time, I believe, equal to twenty 
thousand men fit for duty. At present our numbers fit for duty 
(by this day's report) amount to 14,759, besides 3,427 on com- 
mand, and the enemy within stone's throw of us. It is true a 
body of militia are again ordered out, but they come without 
any conveniences and soon return. I discharged a regiment the 
other day that had in it fourteen rank and file fit for duty only, 

M The word "Congress" is omitted in the manuscript. 


and several that had less than fifty. In short, such is my situ- 
ation that if I were to wish the bitterest curse to an enemy on 
this side of the grave, I should put him in my stead with my 
feelings; and yet I do not know what plan of conduct to pur- 
sue. I see the impossibility of serving with reputation, or doing 
any essential service to the cause by continuing in command, 
and yet I am told that if I quit the command inevitable ruin 
will follow from the distraction that will ensue. In confidence 
I tell you that I never was in such an unhappy, divided state 
since I was born. To lose all comfort and happiness on the 
one hand, whilst I am fully persuaded that under such a sys- 
tem of management as has been adopted, I cannot have the 
least chance for reputation, nor those allowances made which 
the nature of the case requires; and to be told, on the other, 
that if I leave the service all will be lost, is, at the same time that 
I am bereft of every peaceful moment, distressing to a degree. 
But I will be done with the subject, with the precaution to you 
that it is not a fit one to be publicly known or discussed. If 
I fall, it may not be amiss that these circumstances be known, 
and declaration made in credit to the justice of my character. 
And if the men will stand by me (which by the by I despair 
of), I am resolved not to be forced from this ground while 
I have life; and a few days will determine the point, if the 
enemy should not change their plan of operations; for they 
certainly will not — I am sure they ought not — to waste the sea- 
son that is now fast advancing, and must be precious to them. 
I thought to have given you a more explicit account of my 
situation, expectation, and feelings, but I have not time. I am 
wearied to death all day with a variety of perplexing circum- 
stances — disturbed at the conduct of the militia, whose behav- 
ior and want of discipline has done great injury to the other 
troops, who never had officers, except in a few instances, worth 


the bread they eat. My time, in short, is so much engrossed 
that I have not leisure for corresponding, unless it is on mere 
matters of public business. 

I therefore in answer to your last Letter of the 18th shall say 

With respect to the chimney, I would not have you for the 
sake of a little work spoil the look of the fireplaces, tho' that 
in the parlor must, I should think, stand as it does; not so much 
on account of the wainscotting, which I think must be altered 
(on account of the door leading into the new building,) as on 
account of the chimney piece and the manner of its fronting 
into the room. 

The chimney in the room above ought, if it could be so con- 
trived, to be an angle chimney as the others are: but I would 
not have this attempted at the expence of pulling down the 
partition. — The chimney in the new room should be exactly in 
the middle of it — the doors and every thing else to be exactly 
answerable and uniform — in short I would have the whole 
executed in a masterly manner. 

You ought surely to have a window in the gable end of the 
new cellar (either under the Venetian window, or one on each 
side of it). 

Let Mr. Herbert 60 know that I shall be very happy in getting 
his brother exchanged as soon as possible, but as the enemy 
have more of our officers than we of theirs, and some of 
ours have long been confined (and claim the right of being first 
exchanged,) I do not know how far it may be in my power at 
this time, to comply with his desires. 

Remember me to all our neighbors and friends, particularly 
to Colo. Mason, to whom I would write if I had time to do it 

60 William Herbert, of Alexandria, Va. His brother was probably Thomas Herbert, 
a captain in the Pennsylvania Musket Battalion, who was taken prisoner at the Battle 
of Long Island; was exchanged in November, 1776; became a captain in the Tenth 
Pennsylvania Regiment; resigned in February, 1777. 


fully and satisfactorily. Without this, I think the correspond- 
ence on my part would be unavailing — I am etc. 61 


Head Quarters, September 30, 1776. 

Dear Sir: Your favors of the 20th. and 25th., with their sev- 
eral inclosures I received this Morning. The Letters for Con- 
gress, with the rest of the papers, I shall transmit them by the 
earliest Opportunity. I cannot conceive that their Resolution 
of the 14th. was calculated or designed in the smallest degree 
to give you offence. The application for Stores had been made 
as a requisition from Genl. Gates, which I presume occasioned 
the Resolve, ordering 'em to be sent to him. Also the Words 
"for the use of the Northern Army," Nothing is to be inferred 
from them. Whenever Stores are sent to any Department, It is 
said always for the use of the Army there. 

I am greatly obliged by the measures you have taken to pro- 
vide us with Boards, as they are so Material and so difficult to 
procure. Your assurances to execute any Commands I may 
have Occasion to impose upon you, when out of the Military 
line, call for a return of my warmest acknowledgements, these 
I tender you and of these I beg your acceptance. 

Since my Letter of the 27th., nothing of importance has oc- 
curred. Things remain nearly in the Situation they then were. 
Yesterday there were some small movements on the part of 
the Enemy, but as yet they have attempted nothing, nor have 

01 The text is from Ford, who took it from the National Intelligencer of October, 
1862, from a copy furnished by Cassius F. Lee, jr. Ford, doubtful of the exactness 
of the text, addressed an inquiry to Mr. Lee, who confirmed the authenticity of his 
version, though he admitted that he had not followed the original so accurately as 
he would were it then in his hands. The letter of Aug. 20, 1775 (which puzzled 
Ford, in connection with this one of Sept. 30, 1776), in the writing of Washington, 
is in the Washington. Papers. 


I been able to find out their design. A little time I suppose 
must shew what plans they mean to pursue for the remainder 
of the Campaign. I am &c — 


Head Quarters, Heights of Harlem, 
September 30, 1776. 

Sir: Your letter of the 28th. Instt. noticing me, the forward- 
ness of the Troops under your Command was this day handed 
me by Major Turner. 63 On receipt of this, you'll please to Halt 
your Men 'till a Conference with General Clinton, who waits 
on to advise with you, and determine on a Secret Expedition 
to Long Island, which if properly conducted, I have no doubt 
will be attended with Success and be exceedingly beneficial to 
the United States. To carry into Execution the proposed plan 
I must request a Sufficient Number of the Militia from your 
State, making choice of (both Officers and Men) those which 
may be depended on. 64 I am, etc. 

P. S. You'll be pleased to return to Fairfield with General 
Clinton to consult on the above Subject. 


Head Quarters on Harlem Heights, Col. Morris's, 

September 30, 1776. 
Sir : Take with you Leiutt. Colo. 65 and proceed im- 

mediately to Fairfield, and there in Consultation with Genl. 

62 Lincoln had been appointed a major general of Massachusetts Militia by that 
State in May, 1776. 

"'Maj. William(?) Turner. He had been aide to Gates in 1776; later a colonel of 
Massachusetts Militia. 

64 Massachusetts had ordered out one-fifth of her militia to march immediately to 
New York, except one battalion which was ordered to Rhode Island to replace the 
Continental regiment withdrawn from there to New York. New Hampshire ordered 
out a thousand men to serve until December 1 under the command of Washington. 

65 Name left blank in manuscript. Force, in his American Archives, inserts the 
name Hurlbut, meaning Lieut. Col. John Hurlbert, of the New York Militia. 


Lincoln of the Massachusetts Bay, Mr. Hobart 68 of this State and 
Lieutt. Colo. Livingston, 67 if you can meet with him, concert an 
Expedition to Long Island, for the purpose of Aiding the In- 
habitants in removing or destroying the Stock, Grain &c. which 
must otherwise fall into the Hands of the Enemy. 

This Expedition is to be performed under the Command of 
such Officers as General Lincoln and yourself may fix upon 
and by the Troops from Massachusetts Bay, aided by the three 
Continental Companies commanded by Colo. Livingston. 

If there is a possibility of your seeing Governor Trumbull, 
without too great a delay of time, I shall much approve of your 
consulting him upon this Occasion previous to your Concerting 
any plan, but if this cannot be done conveniently, you will for- 
ward my Letter with your reasons for not doing so, and a 
Request of such assistance from the State of Connecticut, as 
you shall find Necessary to apply for. 

Dispatch is essentially necessary to the Success of such an 
Enterprize and Secrecy in obtaining Craft for the Transporta- 
tion of the Troops across the sound, will contribute not a little 
towards it. Circumstances and Information must direct you to 
the Number of Men Necessary for such an Expedition as this, 
and therefore I shall not biass your Judgments by any Order or 
Opinion of mine upon the Occasion, but leave this matter 
wholly to yourselves, with earnest and best wishes for Success. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October i, 1776. 
Sir: I have the Honor of your favor of the 27th Ulto. and 
Note the Contents. The Row Gallies belonging to your State, 
together with those the property of the United States, and all 

68 JohnSloss Hobart. 

67 Lieut. Col. Henry Beekman Livingston. 


other Vessels, on the approach of the Men of War, ran up the 
North River, under cover of the Battery on Mount Washing- 
ton, from whence it is now impossible to remove them. As 
they are now posted, they are serviceable to us, by preventing a 
Communication with the Ships; and keeping out Row Guards 
by Night, to give us timely Notice of the approach, or any 
movements of the Enemy. To take from them their Crew, 
would be rendering them entirely useless, and to rob them of 
their Weapons would dispirit the Men; however if it should 
be thought advisable, after weighing the above Circumstances 
to have the Crew ordered to Connecticut, or any of the Arms or 
other Weapons on board to be sent there your Orders shall 
be attended to. The situation of the Enemy's Ships is very dif- 
ferent at this time, from what it was before the evacuation of 
New York, we then had the Command of a narrow Pass, com- 
municating from the Sound to the East River, commonly called 
Hell Gate; which is now in their possession, two of their Ships 
came thro' yesterday; one I think a Transport, the other a 
Frigate mounting 24 Guns. 

October 3. 
Since the above, I am honored with yours of the 28th, inclos- 
ing the Petition from the Gentlemen sent from this State on 
Parole to Connecticut. They were looked upon as favourers 
to Govr. Tryon and the British Troops, and were removed, to 
prevent giving any Intelligence or otherways aiding the En- 
emy's of our Country. It was intended, that when the Theatre 
of Action was removed, they might return; but that at present 
is not the case, nor do I think it prudent they should be per- 
mitted to return, during our present Situation; as undoubtedly 
they may have it in their power, to give Information concern- 
ing your State &c. which might be prejudicial to the General 
good. They particularly mention in their petition, "that they 


were removed from Long Island into Connecticut, until such 
time as the Situation and State of Affairs there, should admit 
of their Return to their respective Families again." You will 
be pleased to inform them, I agree with you in sentiment, that 
that Period is not arrived. There is no material difference in 
our Situation since I last wrote you. the Enemy have nearly 
Compleated their Works from the North to the East River, as 
the Season is far advanced, we cannot reasonably expect a State 
of Inactivity; but should they attempt to dislodge us from our 
present Quarters, I am in hopes to defeat their designs and give 
a favorable Account to the Public of the Conduct of the Troops 
under my Command. I have the honor to be, etc. 

Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October i, 1776. 

Parole Spotswood. Countersign Gates. 

The Picquet duty being too severe on the few Brigadiers 
who are now here; after this day, the Brigadier General of the 
day is not expected to lay out on picquet — He will attend on 
the parade, march off the Guards; see them properly posted; 
visit them twice in the day, and at day-break in the morning — 
The Colonel being the immediate commanding officer of the 
picquet, will be very vigilant to prevent surprise; give imme- 
diate Notice to the Brigadier, of any approach of the enemy, 
or other extraordinary occurrences. 

James McCormick of Capt. Farrington's Company, Col Ser- 
geant's Regiment, having been tried and convicted by a Court 
Martial whereof Col Lasher was President of "Desertion and 
Mutiny" — is ordered to suffer Death, on the 8th. and 5th. Arti- 
cles of War — The General approves the sentence, and orders 
him to be hang'd to morrow at 11 O'clock — The troops off 
duty are to be paraded on the Grand Parade at that time. 


Capt. Marony, late Provost Marshal, having absented him- 
self from Camp without leave, is suspended, and Thomas 
Bryan appointed in his stead — He is to be obeyed and respected 

No Officer is on any pretence to leave the Camp, without per- 
mission in writing from the Commander in Chief; one of the 
Major Generals, through their respective Brigadiers, or com- 
manding officers. 

The General also thinks it proper to acquaint the officers and 
soldiers, who have stayed and faithfully attended to their duty, 
that he has wrote to the respective States, to order back all 
officers, and soldiers, who have absented themselves with, or 
without leave; and that he will take the most effectual meas- 
ures for the purpose. From the movements of the Enemy, and 
other corroborating Circumstances, to say nothing of the ad- 
vanced season, and the necessity which must induce them to 
bring on a decisive Engagement; the General has abundant 
reason to believe, that an Attack may be hourly expected — He 
exhorts every commanding Officer therefore of Corps, to pay 
particular attention to the state of the Arms and Ammunition 
of their men; that nothing maybe amiss whenever we are called 
upon, however sudden it may happen — At the same time he 
once more recommends, to every officer and soldier, the im- 
portance of the cause they are engaged in, and the necessity 
there is of their behaving like men, who are contending for 
every thing that freemen should value — He assures the whole, 
that it is his fixt determination to defend, the Posts we now 
hold, to the last extremity; and nothing but unparalelled 
Cowardice can occasion the loss of them, as we are superior 
in number, and have a better Cause to contend in, than the 
enemy have— He further declares, that any spirited behaviour, 
in Officers, or Soldiers, shall meet with its reward, at the same 


time that Misbehaviour and Cowardice, shall find exemplary 

Every Brigadier, or Officer commanding Brigade, is hereby 
enjoined and ordered, to select some good officers to be in the 
Rear of their Battalions, and these Officers are positively ordered 
to shoot any Officer, or Soldier, who shall presume to quit his 
Ranks, or retreat, unless the Retreat is ordered by proper Au- 
thority; And to prevent the confusion which is occasioned by 
every person's undertaking to give, or carry Orders, none are 
to be looked upon as valid, that are not delivered in the manner 
mentioned in the Orders of the 7th. Ultimo. 

The Militia if they have not already done it, are to get com- 
pleted with as much Powder, Ball and Cartridge Paper, as will 
make 20 Rounds of Cartridges. 

That no man, either officer or soldier, may plead ignorance 
of these Orders, the Colonels, or commanding Officers of Corps, 
are to take especial care that they be read to the whole, as they 
will answer the contrary : The Adjutant General is to transmit 
Copies thereof to Major Genl. Heath and Greene, that the 
whole Army may be apprised thereof; the General being deter- 
mined to punish Cowardice, the instant it happens, for the 
sake of example. 

Major Colbourne 68 is appointed to command the Rangers, 
lately under Col Knowlton — he is to take Orders from General 
Putnam, to whom they are to make daily reports. 


The following troops to parade at 5. O'clock, on the Grand 
Parade, and there receive Orders from Genl. Putnam. 
Light Infantry of the Pennsylvania Battalions. 

^Maj. Andrew Colburn, of the Fourth Continental Infantry. He was wounded at 
Harlem Plains, N. Y., in the same skirmish in which Knowlton was killed; lieuten- 
ant colonel of the Third New Hampshire Regiment in November, 1776; died of 
wounds received at Stillwater, N. Y., Sept. 28, 1777. 



Genl. Mifflin's Brigade to furnish a Lieut. Colonel and 
300 Men. 

Genl. Wadsworth's Brigade to furnish 200 Men; to be com- 
manded by Col Silliman. 

Genl. McDougall's Brigade to furnish a Lieut. Colonel and 
200 Men. 

Genl. Fellows's Brigade to furnish a Major and 150 Men. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 2, 1776. 

Parole Hartford. Countersign Harlem. 

Jonathan Pollard Esqr. is appointed Aid-de-Camp to Genl. 
Heath, and is to be obeyed and respected accordingly. 

It is with much Concern the General is informed that tho' 
the new Rules for the Government of the Army have been out 
sometime, they have not been generally read to the Soldiers — 
Surely Gentlemen do not reflect what prejudice it is to the 
service, to omit so material a point ©f duty. 69 

It is once more repeated, that every Soldier is to be com- 
pleted with Ammunition to 24 Rounds a Man; and it is the 
duty of Officers to see that they have it — Some of the troops 
who went out on the covering party this morning, had not 
their Complement, nor had their Officers examined their Arms 
and Ammunition, before they marched them on the Grand 
Parade — This Conduct if not amended will be fatal to the 
Army and the Country— Where the Cartridge-Boxes will not 
hold the full Complement, application is to be made for 
Pouches, which may be had at the Commissary's Store. 

"The regulations for the government of the army, often called the Articles of War, 
were ordered published by Congress June 30, 1775; republished by a resolve of De- 
cember 7, revised and again republished by the resolve of September 20, 1776. They 
were again revised and ordered republished April 14, 1777. It was the September 
revision to which Washington alluded. 



Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 2, 1776. 
Sir : I do myself the honor of transmitting to you the inclosed 
Letter from Lieut Colonel Livingston 70 with sundry Copies 
of General Delancey's Orders, 71 which discover the measures 
the Enemy are pursuing on Long Island for raising Recruits 
and obtaining supplies of Provisions. In consequence of the 
intelligence they contain and authentic advices through other 
Channels, respecting these matters, I have sent Brigadier Gen- 
eral Geo. Clinton to meet General Lincoln, who has got as far 
as Fairfield, with part of the Troops lately ordered by the Mas- 
sachusetts Assembly, to concert with him and others an Expe- 
dition across the Sound with these Troops; three Companies 
under Colonel Livingston and such further aid as Governor 
Trumbull can afford, in order to prevent if possible, their ef- 
fecting these important Objects, and to assist the Inhabitants 
in the removal of their Stock, Grain &ca. or in destroying 
them, that the Enemy may not derive any advantage or benefit 
from them. The recruiting Scheme, they are prosecuting with 
uncommon industry, nor is it confined to Long Island alone, 
having just now received a Letter from the Committee of 
Westchester County, advising that there are several Companies 
of men in that and Dutchess County preparing to go off and 
join the King's Army. I have given directions to our Guard 
Boats and our Gentries at our Works at Mount Washington, 
to keep a strict look out, in case they attempt to come down 
the North River, also to General Heath at Kings bridge, that the 
utmost Vigilance may be observed by the Regiments and 

70 Lieut. Col. Henry Beekman Livingston. His report, dated Sept. 24, 1776, is filed 
with Washington's letter in the Papers of the Continental Congress. 

n Brig. Gen. Oliver DeLancey's letter to Col. Phineas Fanning, ordering him to drive 
all cattle and sheep, to Jamaica, dated Sept. 11, 1776, is in the Washington Papers. 


Troops stationed above there and down towards the East River 
that they may intercept them, should they take that Route with 
a view of crossing to Long Island. 

I will use every precaution in my power to prevent these 
parricides from accomplishing their designs, but I have but 
little hopes of success as it will be no difficult matter for them 
to procure a passage over some part or other of the Sound. 

I have been applied to lately by Col : Weedon, of Virginia, 
for permission to recruit the deficiency of men in his Regiment, 
out of the Troops composing the flying Camp, informing me 
at the sametime, that some of those from Maryland had offered 
to engage; Colo: Hand of the Rifle Batallion made a similar 
application to day: If the Inlistments could be made, they 
would have this good consequence, the securing of so many in 
the service: However, as the Measure might occasion some 
uneasiness in their own Corps, and be considered as a hardship 
by the States to which they belong and the means of their fur- 
nishing more than the Quota exacted from them in the General 
Arrangement and would make it more difficult for them to 
complete their own Levies, I did not conceive myself at liberty 
to Authorize it, without submitting the propriety of it to 
the consideration of Congress and obtaining their Opinion, 
whether it should be allowed or not. 

I have inclosed a List of Warrants granted from the 2d. to 
the 30th. Ulto. inclusive, the only return of the sort, I have 
been able to make since the Resolution for that purpose, owing 
to the unsettled state of our Affairs and my having sent my 
papers away. You will also receive sundry Letters &ca. from 
General Schuyler, which came under cover to me and which 
I have the honor of forwarding. 

By a Letter just received from the Committee of Safety of 
the State of New Hampshire, I find a thousand of their militia 


were about to march on the 24th. Ulto., to reinforce this Army 
in consequence of the requisition of Congress: previous to 
their march, General Ward writes me, he was obliged to fur- 
nish them with 500 lb. of Powder and 1000 lb of Musket Ball 
and I have little reason to expect that they are better provided 
with other Articles than they were with Ammunition; in such 
case they will only add to our present distress, which is already 
far too great, and become disgusted with the service tho the 
time they are engaged for is only till the first of December, 
this will injure their inlisting for a longer term, if not wholly 
prevent it. 

From three Deserters who came from the Galatea Man of 
War about five days ago, we are informed that several Trans- 
ports had sailed before they left her, for England, as it was 
generally reported in order to return with a supply of Provi- 
sions, of which they say there is a want. General Mercer in 
a Letter informed me, that General Thompson said he had 
heard they were going to dismiss about a Hundred of the Ships 
from the service. I am also advised by a Letter from Mr. 
Derby at Boston of the 26th. Ulto., that the day before, a Trans- 
port Snow had been taken and sent into Piscatawa by a Priva- 
teer inherpassagefromNewYork to the West Indies, she sailed 
with five more under the convoy of a Man of war in order to 
bring from thence such Troops that are there, to join General 
Howe: they were all Victualled for four months. From this 
Intelligence it would seem as if they did not apprehend any- 
thing to be meditating against them by the Court of France. 

October 3. 
I have nothing in particular to communicate respecting our 
situation, It being much the same as when I wrote last. We 
had an Alarm this morning a little before Four O'clock, from 

1776] GUARD HUTS 151 

some of our Out Sentries, who reported that a large body of 
the Enemy was advancing towards our Lines; this put us in 
motion, however turned out entirely premature, or at least we 
saw nothing of them. I have &ca. 72 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 3, 1776. 

Parole Ireland. Countersign Florida. 

Genl. Putnam will please to point out proper places for Huts, 
to shelter the Picquet-Guard (in front of our lines) and direct 
the officers who command these Guards, to see that the Men 
are employed every day at work thereon 'till they are com- 
pleted; and this, for the sake of their own Health and Conven- 
ience, it is hoped they will do as soon as possible, as the weather 
will soon grow too uncomfortable to lay without shelter. 

As the new Articles for the Government of the Army, are to 
take place on Monday next, it is expected that the officers will 
make their men acquainted with them as soon as possible, that 
Crimes may not pass unpunished on any pretence of ignorance. 
The several Brigadiers are immediately to return a List, to 
Head Quarters, of the Field Officers of their respective Brigades, 
who are absent, and on what account; noting such (if any) as 
have absented themselves without leave, or stayed beyond their 
limited time. Colonels and commanding Officers of Regiments 
are to do the same in their Regiments respectively — This Return 
to be made on Saturday at 12 O'clock. When the Brigadier is 
absent, the eldest officer of the Brigade to make the Return. 

Capt. Fitzgerald 73 is appointed to act as a Major to Col 
Weedon's Regiment, 'till further orders, instead of the brave 
Major Leitch who is dead of his wounds. 

"In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 

73 Capt. John Fitzgerald. Later he was lieutenant colonel and aide to Washington. 


An exact Return of the Officers Names, fit for duty in Camp, 
and unfit; is to be made seperate from the General Return. 

The Brigades which send their Detachments first on the pa- 
rade, are to take the right, as has been the usage for a long time. 

No Officer is on any pretence to take off any Soldier, who is 
employed either as Waggoner, Butcher, Tallow-Chandler, or 
other Business under die Qr. Mr. General or Commissary Gen- 
eral, without first applying to the Head of the department; and 
in case of dificulty or difference on the occasion, to apply to 
Head Quarters, and in the meantime the Soldier to continue 
on the Command. 


Harlem, October 4, 1776. 

Sir: Before I knew of the late resolutions of Congress which 
you did me the honour to Inclose in your Letter of the 24th., 
and before I was favourd with the visit of your Comee., I took 
the liberty of giving you my Sentiments on several points which 
seem'd to be of Importance. 

I have no doubt but that the Comee. will make such report 
of the State and Condition of the Army, as will induce Con- 
gress to believe, that nothing but the most vigorous exertions 
can put matters upon such a footing as to give this Continent 
a fair prospect of Success. Give me leave to say, Sir; I say it 
with due deference and respect, (and my knowledge of the 
Facts, added to the importance of the Cause and the stake I hold 
in it, must justify the freedom) that your Affairs are in a more 
unpromising way than you seem to apprehend. 

Your Army, as mentioned in my last, is upon the eve of its 
political dissolution; true it is, you have voted a larger one in 
lieu of it, but the Season is late, and there is a material differ- 
ence between voting of Battalions and raising of Men. In the 



latter, there are more difficulties than Congress are aware of; 
which makes it my duty (as I have been informed of the pre- 
vailing Sentiment of this Army) to inform them, that unless 
the pay of the Officers (especially that of the Field Officers) is 
raised, the Chief part of those that are worth retaining, will 
leave the Service at the expiration of the present term; as the 
Soldiers will also, if some greater Incouragement is not offered 
them than Twenty Dollars, and one hundred Acres of Land. 

Nothing less in my Opinion, than a Suit of Cloaths annually, 
given to each non-commissioned Officer and Soldier, in addi- 
tion to the pay and bounty, will avail, and I question whether 
that will do, as the Enemy from the Information of one John 
Mash, who with Six others were taken by our Guards, are giv- 
ing Ten pounds bounty for Recruits ; and have got a Battalion 
under Majr. Rogers nearly compleated upon Long Island. 

Nor will less pay according to my judgement than I have 
taken the liberty of mentioning in the Inclosed estimate retain 
such Officers as we could wish to have continued; the differ- 
ence pr. month in each Battalion will amount to better than 
one hundred pounds; to this may be added the pay of the Staff 
Officers, for it is presumable they will also require an augmen- 
tation; but being few in number, the Sum will not be greatly 
Increased by them, and consequently is a matter of no great 
moment; but it is a matter of no small Importance to make the 
several Offices desirable. When the pay and establishment of 
an Officer once become objects of Interested attention, the Sloth, 
negligence, and even disobedience of Orders which at this time 
but too generally prevails, will be purged off; but while the 
Service is viewed with Indifference; while the Officer conceive 
that he is rather confering than receiving an obligation, there 
will be a total relaxation of all order and Discipline, and every 
thing will move heavily on, to the great detriment of the Serv- 
ice, and inexpressible trouble and vexation of the General. 


The critical Situation of our Affairs at this time will justify 
my saying, that no time is to be lost in making of fruitless 
experiments; an unavailing tryal of a Month to get an Army 
upon the terms proposed, may render it impracticable to do it 
at all; and prove fatal to our Cause; as I am not sure whether 
any rubs in the way of our Inlistments, or unfavourable turn in 
our Affairs, may not prove the Means of the Enemy Recruiting 
Men faster than we do; to this may be added the inextricable 
difficulty of forming one Corps out of another, and arranging 
matters with any degree of Order in the face of an Enemy, 
who are watching for advantages. 

At Cambridge last year, where the Officers (and more than 
a sufficiency of them) were all upon the spot, we found it a 
work of such extreame difficulty to know their Sentiments, 
(each having some terms to propose) that I despair'd once of 
getting the arrangement compleated; and do suppose that at 
least a hundred alterations took place before matters were finally 
adjusted; what must it be then under the present regulation, 
where the Officer is to negociate this matter with the State he 
comes from, distant perhaps two or three hundred Miles; some 
of whom, without leave or license from me set out to make per- 
sonal application the Moment the Resolve got to their hands; 
what kind of Officers these are, I leave Congress to judge. 

If an Officer of reputation (for none other should be applied 
to) is ask'd to stay what answer can he give, but in the first 
place, that he does not know whether it is at his option to do so, 
no provision being made in the Resolution of Congress even 
recommendatory of this measure; consequently, that it rests 
with the State he comes from (surrounded perhaps with a va- 
riety of applications, and influenced probably by local attach- 
ments), to determine whether he can be provided for or not. In 


the next place, if he is an Officer of Merit, and knows that the 
State he comes from is to furnish more Battalions than it at pres- 
ent has in the Service, he will scarcely, after two years faithful 
Services, think of continuing in the Rank he now bears when 
new Creations are to be made, and Men appointed to Offices 
(no ways superior in Merit, and ignorant perhaps of Service) 
over his head. A Committee, sent to the Army from each State 
may, upon the Spot, fix things with a degree of propriety and 
certainty, and is the only method I can see, of bringing matters 
to a decision with respect to the Officers of the Army; but what 
can be done in the meanwhile, towards the arrangement in 
the Country I know not. In the one case, you run the hazard 
of loosing your Officers; in the other, encountering delay 
unless some method could be devised of forwarding both at 
the same Instant. 

Upon the present Plan, I plainly foresee an intervention of 
time between the old and new Army, which must be filled 
with Militia (if to be had) with whom no Man, who has any 
regard for his own reputation can undertake to be answerable 
for Consequences. I shall also be mistaken in my conjectures, 
if we do not loose the most valuable Officers in this Army 
under the present mode of appointing them; consequently, if 
we have an Army at all, it will be composed of Materials not 
only entirely raw, but if uncommon pains are not taken, en- 
tirely unfit; and I see such a distrust and jealousy of Military 
power, that the Commander in Chief has not an oppertunity, 
even by recommendation, to give the least assurances of reward 
for the most essential Services: 

In a word, such a Cloud of perplexing Circumstances appears 
before me without one flattering hope, that I am thoroughly 
convinced unless the most vigorous and decisive exertions are 


immediately adopted to remedy these Evils, that the certain 
and absolute loss of our Liberties will be the inevitable conse- 
quence, as one unhappy stroke will throw a powerful weight 
into the Scale against us, enabling Genl. Howe to recruit his 
Army as fast as we shall ours, numbers being disposed, and 
many actually doing so already. Some of the most probable 
remedies, and such as experience has brought to my more inti- 
mate knowledge, I have taken the liberty to point out; the rest 
I beg leave to submit to the consideration of Congress. 

I ask pardon for taking up so much of their Time with 
my opinions, but I should betray that trust which they and my 
Country have reposed in me, were I to be silent upon a matter 
so extremely Interesting; with the most perfect esteem I have 
the honour to be etc. 74 


Present pay Suppose intended Difference 

i Colonel £15 £25 ^10.. 

1 Lieut: Colonel 12 20 8.. 

1 Major 10 15 5.. 

8 Captains . . at 8^. . . . 64 at 10^.... 80 16.. 

i6Lieuts. . . at^5..8. . 86..8. . . . at ,£7.. 10. . 120 33-12.. 

8 Ensigns . . . at ^4 . . . 32 at £6 48 16.. 

1 Chaplin 10 15 5.. 

1 Adjutant 5..10 10 4..10.. 

1 Quarter Master 5..10 10 4..10.. 

1 Surgeon 10 15 5.. 

1 Mate 4 7..10... 3..10.. 

^111.. 2..0 

"Congress recommended (October 8) that the States send committees to the Army 
to carry out these recommendations as to the appointment of officers and the prin- 
ciples of promotion; a suit of clothes annually was added to the enlistment bounty of 
all men who would enlist for the war. (See Journals of the Continental Congress.) 

7 "This table of pay increase, in the writing of Tench Tilghman, is filed with Wash- 
ington's letter to Congress, Sept. 25, 1776, in the Papers of the Continental Congress. 



Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 4, 1776. 76 

Parole Holland. Countersign Boston. 

The shameful Inattention in some of the Camps to decency 
and cleanliness, in providing Necessaries, and picking up the 
Offal and Filth of the Camp, having been taken Notice of be- 
fore in general, After this time particular Regiments will be 
pointed out by Name when such practices prevail. 

The Court Martial whereof Col Magaw was President is dis- 
solved — The Brigade Majors are immediately to settle a new 
one, Col Weedon to preside. 

As there are many Officers in Camp, whose Health will not 
admit their going on Picquet, but can attend Court Martial, the 
Brigade Majors are to attend to this Circumstance informing 
the Court, by which means the duty will be easier to the whole. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 5, 1776. 

Sir: I was last Night honoured with your favor of the 2d. 
with sundry Resolutions of Congress. The Officers that con- 
curred in the acquittal of Ensign McCumber shall be called 
upon, to assign their reasons for their first judgment which 
shall be sent as soon as they are collected. 

In respect to the Exchange of prisoners, I fear it will be a 
work of great difficulty, owing to their dispersed and scattered 
situation thro out the States; in order to effect it, I have wrote 
to the Eastern Governments to have them collected and to 
transmit me an Account of their Number, distinguishing the 
Names and Ranks of the Field and Commissioned Officers, 

70 On this date Washington wrote briefly to Schuyler that he could not furnish nails 
for barrack building at Albany; that Maj. William Edmonstone, of the Forty-eighth 
Foot would have to await exchange; and that the Oswego expedition would, he hoped, 
be laid aside on account of the approach of winter. 


and the Corps they belong to; I have also wrote to Governor 
Livingston of the Jersey's upon the Subject, and must take the 
Liberty of requesting Congress to give directions that a similar 
return may be made of those in Pennsylvania and Maryland, and 
for their being brought to Brunswick, that they may be ready 
to be exchanged for an equal Number and those of the same 
Rank. I observe by the Resolve of the 26th. Ulto., that the Ex- 
change is particularly directed to be made of the Officers and 
Soldiers taken on Long Island; but should not that follow the 
exchange of those Officers and Men who have lately returned 
from Quebec, whose Imprisonment has been much longer, 
and whose Service has not been less severe and in many in- 
stances Conducted with Great intrepidity; I have had many 
applications since their arrival, by which they claim a kind 
of preference, as far as their numbers and the circumstances of 
their Rank will allow, and which I thought it my duty to men- 
tion, that I may obtain some direction upon the subject. 77 

You will observe, by a Paragraph of a Letter received Yester- 
day from General Howe, a Copy of which you have at length, 
that the non-performance of the Agreement between Captain 
Forster and General Arnold, by which the latter stipulated for 
the return of an equal number of Officers and Prisoners in our 
hands for those delivered him, is considered in an unfavourable 
light and entirely imputed to me, as having the Chief com- 
mand of the Armies of the States, and a controlling power over 
General Arnold. The pointed manner in which Mr. Howe is 
pleased to express himself, could not personally affect me, sup- 
posing there had been no good grounds for the Treaty not being 
ratified, having been nothing more than an Instrument of con- 
veying to him the Resolutions formed upon the Subject; but 

"On October 10 Congress resolved that "General Washington be directed to nego- 
tiate with General Howe, an exchange of the officers returned from Canada, and 
that they have a preference to the officers taken on New York and Long Island." (See 
Journals of the Continental Congress.) 



as there were but too just reasons, his censure could have no 
weight was it not directed against me. However, I would beg 
leave to observe, from the Letters from the Hostages; from 
what has been reported by others respecting Captain Forster's 
having used his endeavours to restrain the Savages from exer- 
cising their wonted barbarities, (tho' in some instances they 
did) his purchasing some of the Prisoners for a pretty consid- 
erable premium; but above all, from the delicate nature of such 
Treaties, and because the non-observance of them, must damp 
the Spirits of the Officers who make them, and add affliction 
to the Misfortunes of those whom necessity and the nature of 
the case force into Captivity, to give them a sanction, by a long 
and irksome confinement; For these reasons and many more 
that will readily occur and that I could wish Congress to recon- 
sider the matter and to carry it into execution. I am sensible 
the wrong was originally in their employing Savages and that 
whatever cruelties were committed by them, should be esteemed 
as their own Acts : Yet perhaps in point of Policy, it may not be 
improper to overlook these infractions on their part, and to 
pursue that mode which will be the most likely to render the 
hardships incident to War, most tolerable, and the greatest 
benefits to the State. I have ventured to say thus much upon 
the Subject, from a regard to the service, and because such Gen- 
tlemen of the Army as I have heard mention it, seem to wish 
the Treaty had been ratified, rather than disallowed. 78 

"General Howe had written (October 4) : "With Relation to the Non Performance 
of your Part of the Agreement between Captain Forster and General Arnold, that 
General being immediately under your Command, from your Situation made known 
to me under your own Subscription, it rests with you to see them fulfilled, agree- 
able to the plighted Faith of the General, which, no doubt, to save his Honor, he has a 
Right to expect, or that you will return the Prisoners given up by Captain Forster. In 
the mean while I trust, from the Declaration in your Letter of the 23d last past, that 
you will not allow of any Delay in the Exchange of the Officers and Soldiers in your 
Possession belonging to His Majesty's Troops. Brigadier General Woodhull was yes- 
terday reported to me to have died of his Wounds." Howe's letter is in the Wash- 
ington Papers. 

A letter from a "gentleman" at Montreal, dated Aug. 18, I776,stated thatwhen Cap- 
tain Forster had taken the American party prisoners his provisions proved insufficient 


Inclosed is a list of vacancies in the Third Regiment of Vir- 
ginia Troops in part occasioned by the Death of Major Leitch, 
who died of his Wounds on Tuesday Morning, and of the 
Gentlemen who stand next in Regimental Order and who are 
recommended to succeed to them; You will observe thatCaptn. 
John Fitzgerald is said to be appointed to the duty of Major. 
This I have done in orders, being the eldest Captain in the 
Regiment and I believe an officer of unexceptionable Merit, 
and as it was highly necessary at this Time, to have the Corps 
as well and fully officered as possible. 

There is also a vacancy in the ist. Continental Battalion, by 
the promotion of Lieut: Clark 79 to a Majority in the flying 
Camp, to which Colonel Hand has recommended William 
Patten to succeed, as you will perceive by his Letter inclosed. 

I have taken the liberty to transmit a plan for establishing a 
Corps of Engineers, Artificers &ca. sketched out by Colonel Put- 
nam, 80 and which is proposed for the consideration of Congress. 
How far they may incline to adopt, or whether they may chuse to 
proceed upon such an extensive scale, they will be pleased to de- 
termine; However I conceive it, a matter well worthy of their 
consideration, being convinced from experience and from the 
reasons suggested by Colo. Putnam, who has acted with great 
diligence and reputation in the Business, that some establish- 
ment of the sort is highly necessary and will be productive of 
the most beneficial consequences. If the proposition is approved 
by Congress, I am informed by good Authority, that there is a 

for such a number, and he was obliged to put his own men and the Indians with him 
on half allowance. This made the Indians discontented, and they insisted upon put- 
ting their prisoners to death, but were prevailed upon by Captain Forster, after the 
"utmost entreaty," to spare them to be sent to the colonies to be exchanged. General 
Burgoyne allowed the hostages to write to their friends. — Ford. 

TO Lieut. John Clark had been made major of the Second Pennsylvania Battalion of 
the Flying Camp on September 14. 

80 Col. Rufus Putnam's plan for a corps of engineers, dated Sept. 26, 1776, is in the 
Papers of the Continental Congress. 

1776] RANK DISPUTES 161 

Gentleman in Virginia in the Colony Service, John Stadler Es- 
quire a Native of Germany, whose abilities in this way are by 
no means inconsiderable. 81 

I am told he was an Engineer in the Army under Genl. Stan- 
wix, and is reputed to be of skill and ingenuity in the profession. 
In this capacity I do not know him myself, but am intimately 
acquainted with him in his private Character, as a man of un- 
derstanding and of good behaviour. I would submit his merit 
to the inquiry of Congress, and if he shall answer the report 
I have had of him, I make no doubt but he will be suitably 
provided for. 

The Convention of this State have lately seized and had ap- 
praised two New Ships, valued at 6229 £ Y[ork] Currency 
which they have sent down for the purpose of sinking and ob- 
structing the Channel opposite Mount Washington. The price 
being high and opinions various as to the necessity of the meas- 
ure, some conceiving the Obstruction nearly sufficient already; 
and others that they would render it secure, I would wish to 
have the direction of Congress upon the Subject by the earliest 
opportunity, thinking myself, that if the Enemy should at- 
tempt to come up, that they should be used sooner than to 
hazard their passing. 

I must be governed by circumstances, yet hope for their 
sentiments before any thing is necessary to be done. 

Sundry disputes having arisen of late between Officers of dif- 
ferent Regiments and of the same Rank, respecting the right 
of succession, to such vacancies as happen from death or other 
causes, some suggesting that it should be in a Colonial line and 
governed by the priority of their Commissions, others that it 
should be regimental, and there being an instance now before 
me, between the Officers of the Virginia Regiments occasioned 

S1 Stadler, later, was a lieutenant colonel of Engineers in the Southern Department. 


by the death of Major Lietch, It has become absolutely neces- 
sary that Congress should determine the mode by which pro- 
motions are to be regulated, whether colonially and by priority 
of Commissions, or Regimentally ; reserving a right out of the 
General rule they adopt, to reward for particular Merit, or of 
witholding from Office such as may not be worthy to succeed. 
I have only proposed two modes for their consideration, being 
satisfied that promotions through the line as they are called, 
can never take place without producing discord, jealousy, dis- 
trust and the most fatal consequences. In some of my Letters 
upon the subject of promotions, and in one which I had the 
honor of adressing the board of War on the 30th. Ulto., I ad- 
vised, that the mode should be rather practised than resolved 
on, but I am fully convinced now of the necessity there is of set- 
tling it in one of the two ways I have taken the liberty to point 
out and under the restrictions I have mentioned, or the dis- 
putes and applications will be endless and attended with great 
inconveniences. I have the Honor &ca. 82 


Head Quarters on Harlem Heights, October 5, 1776. 
Sir: Your Letter of the 1st. Instt., enclosing one from the 
Committee of New Windsor, and a Deposition against Mr. 
Conner is duly received. They say the Butter was intended for 
this Army, I would therefore advise its being immediately sent 
to Colo. Trumbull Commissary General, who will pay the cur- 
rent price; this step cannot but be agreeable to Mr. Conner, if 
he is innocent of the Charge, if otherways, will be secured from 
going to the Enemy. The Committee should take upon them 
the further Examination of Conner and Montgomery, and deal 

82 In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. The "Letter Book" copy, in the 
Washington Papers, also in Harrison's writing, varies in minor verbal particulars 
from the letter sent. 


with them according to their Crimes; if found guilty, the same 
steps ought to be taken in regard to the Flour you mention to 
be in Store at New Windsor. In respect to Intrenching Tools, 
much time elapses in sending them from here, besides we have 
not more than are wanted for present use, you must apply to the 
several Committees in the Country, or send an Officer to pick 
up such a number as may be necessary; for the Amount you 
may draw on the Quarter Master General. I am &c. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 5, 1776. 
Sir : The Congress having directed me, by a Resolve of the 26th. 
Sepr., to procure as soon as possible, an Exchange of the Officers 
and Soldiers taken on Long Island, for the same Number of 
British Officers and privates, now prisoners in the United States ; 
it becomes necessary, for me to be informed of the Numbers 
and Ranks of the prisoners in the different States, in order to 
carry the same into execution, you will therefore oblige me, 
by having made out and transmitted to me, an exact Return 
of the Number of Officers in New Jersey, their Ranks, Names 
and the Corps to which they belong; The numbers of the non 
Commissioned Officers and privates without their names will 
be Sufficient. They should also be Collected from the different 
Places where they are Stationed, and brought together to some 
convenient place (Brunswick I should think), from whence 
they may be sent to General Howe when the Cartel is fully 
settled. I am etc. 


Head Quarters, Heights of Harlem, October 5, 1776. 
Dr. Sir : Your Obliging favor of the 20th Ultimo came duly to 
hand and demands my best acknowledgments. I congratulate 


you, Sir, most cordially, upon your appointment to the Gov- 
ernment; and, with no less sincerity, on your late recovery. 
Your Correspondence will confer honor and Satisfaction; and, 
whenever it is in my power, I shall write to you with pleasure. 
Our Retreat from Long Island, under the peculiar Circum- 
stances we then laboured, became an Act of prudence and 
necessity, and the Evacuation of New York was a consequence 
resulting from the other. Indeed, after we discovered the En- 
emy, instead of making an Attack upon the City, were endeav- 
ouring (by means of their Ships and a Superior land force) either 
to intercept our retreat, by getting in our rear; or else by land- 
ing their/o/r^between our divisions at Kingsbridge and those 
in the Town, to seperate the one from the other, it became a mat- 
ter of the last importance to alter the disposition of the Army. 
These Measures, however, (Although of the most evident 
utility) have been productive of some inconveniencies; the 
Troops having become in some Measure dispirited, by these 
successive Retreats, and which, I presume, has also been the 
case among several of our Friends in the Country. In order to 
recover that Military Ardor, which is of the utmost Moment 
to an Army; almost immediately on my Arrival at this Place, 
I formed a design of cutting off some of the Enemy's light 
Troops, who (encouraged by their Successes) had advanced to 
the extremity of the High Ground, opposite to our present En- 
campment. To effect this salutary purpose, Colo Knowlton 
and Major Leitch were detached with parties of Riflemen and 
Rangers to get in their rear, while a disposition was made as if 
to attack them in front : By some unhappy mistake, the fire was 
commenced from that Quarter, rather on their Flank than in 
their rear; by which Means, though the Enemy were defeated 
and pushed off the Ground, yet they had an Opportunity of re- 
treating to their Main Body. This piece of success (though it 


tended greatly to inspire our Troops with confidence), has been 
in some measure imbittered by the loss of those two brave Offi- 
cers, who are dead of the Wounds they received in the Action. 
Since this Skirmish, excepting the affair at Montresor's Island, 
where Major Henly, another of our best Officers, was slain, there 
has been nothing of any material Consequence. Indeed, the 
advantage obtained over the Enemy's Light Troops, might 
have been improved, perhaps to a considerable extent, had we 
been in a proper Situation to have made use of this favorable 
Crisis; but a want of Confidence, in the generality of the 
Troops, has prevented me from availing myself of that, and 
almost every other, opportunity, which has presented itself. 

I own my fears, that this must ever be the case, when our 
dependence is placed on Men, inlisted for a few Months, com- 
manded by such Officers as Party, or Accident, may have fur- 
nished; and on Militia, who as soon as they are fairly fixed in 
the Camp are impatient to return to their own Homes; and 
who, from an utter disregard of all discipline and restraint 
among themselves, are but too apt to infuse the like spirit into 
others. The Evils of short inlistments and employing Militia 
to oppose against regular and well appointed Troops, I strongly 
urged to Congress, before the last Army was engaged. Indeed, 
my own Situation at Cambridge, about the Close of the last 
Campaign, furnished the most striking example of the fatal 
tendency of such Measures. I then clearly foresaw, that such 
an Armament, as we had good reason to expect would be sent 
against us, could be opposed only by Troops inlisted during the 
War, and where every Action would add to their experience and 
improvement, and of whom (if they were unsuccessful in the 
begining), a reasonable hope might be entertained, that, in 
time, they would become as well acquainted with their Busi- 
ness as their Enemy's. This method, I am Convinced, would 


have been attended with every good Consequence; for, besides 
the Militia's being altogether unfit for the Service, when Called 
into the Field, we have discovered from experience, they are 
much more expensive than any other kind of Troops; and that 
the War could have been Conducted on More Moderate Terms, 
by establishing a permanent Body of Forces, who were equal 
to every contingency, than by Calling in the Militia on im- 
minent and pressing Occasions. 

I would not wish to influence your Judgment with respect to 
Militia, in the Management of Indian affairs, as I am fully per- 
suaded the Inhabitants of the frontier Counties in your Colony, 
are from inclination, as well as ability, peculiarly adapted for 
that kind of Warfare. At the same time, I should think it would 
be highly advisable, in case you should conceive yourselves to be 
in danger from any detachment from the British Army, or from 
their Marines, not to depend on any Troops, but such as are 
well Officered and Inlisted during the War. 

I make no doubt, but your State have turned their Views to- 
wards forming some Obstacles against the Enemy's ships and 
Tenders, who may go up your Rivers, in quest of Provisions, 
or for the purpose of destroying your Towns. If they have 
depended on Batteries to prevent them, without any other ob- 
structions, a tryal of the matter has taught us to believe it will 
be altogether Ineffectual; as when under Sail, with wind and 
Tide in their favor, any damage they may receive from a Bat- 
tery, will be of very little Consequence. At the same time, I 
must observe that this kind of opposition is exceedingly proper 
for the defence of a Town, or in any Case, where it is necessary 
the Ships should come to Anchor before the Batteries, for the 
purpose of Silencing them. In the first Instance, I would 
strongly recommend Row Gallies, which, if Officered with 
brave and determined Men, and Conducted with prudence, 


would, in my Opinion, be productive of the greatest Advan- 
tage, and be the most likely means (in your Situation), of se- 
curing your Towns and Houses, on the Navigable Waters, 
from any impression of the Shipping. 

I imagine, before this, Congress has made you acquainted 
with their Resolutions for raising the New Army, and that your 
Colony is to furnish fifteen Battalions, to be inlisted during the 
War. As this will occasion the choosing a Number of New 
Officers, I would in the most urgent Manner, recommend the 
utmost care and Circumspection in your several Appointments. 
I do not expect, that there are Many experienced Gentlemen 
now left with you, as, from what I have understood, those who 
have served in the last War are chiefly promoted; however, I am 
satisfied, that the Military Spirit runs so high in your Colony, 
and that the Number of Applicants will be so considerable, 
that a very proper choice may be made. Indeed, the Army's 
being put upon such a permanent footing, will be a strong 
inducement for them to step forth on the present interesting 
occasion. One Circumstance, in this important Business, ought 
to be cautiously guarded against, and that is, the Soldier and 
Officer being too nearly on a level. Discipline and Subordina- 
tion add life and Vigour to Military movements. The person 
Commanded yields but a reluctant obedience to those, he con- 
ceives, are undeservedly made his Superiors. The degrees of 
Rank are frequently transferred from Civil life into the Depart- 
ments of the Army. The true Criterion to judge by (when past 
Services do not enter into the Competition) is, to consider 
whether the Candidate for Office has a just pretention to the 
Character of a Gentleman, a proper sense of Honor, and some 
reputation to loose. 

perhaps Sir, you may be surprised at my pressing this advice 
so strongly, as I have done in this Letter; but I have felt the 


inconveniences resulting from a Contrary principle in so sen- 
sible a Manner, and this Army has been so greatly enfeebled 
by a different line of Conduct, that, I hope, you will readily 
excuse me. I am etc. 


Heights of Harlem, October 5, 1776. 

Dear Brother: Altho the multiplicity of Ingagements which 
employ all my waking hours, will not allow me to corrispond 
with my Friends with that freedom and punctuality I could 
wish, they may nevertheless be assured that neither time, dis- 
tance, or change of Circumstances have, in the smallest degree 
altered the Affection I have ever entertained for them. 

Your favour of the 16th. of last Month came safe to hand by 
Captn. Shepherd, and gave me the pleasure of hearing that 
yourself, and family were well, the Acct given you by Doctr. 
Walker, of the unfriendly disposition of the Western Indian's 
is really alarming; but if our success against the Cherokees is 
equal to report, I am in hopes it will bring the Western gentry 
to their Second thoughts before they strike. Your Acct. of the 
want of Arms among the People of the Frontiers is also alarm- 
ing; but I hope the dimciency will, by one means or other, 
soon be repaird. Poor Stephenson! 83 I sincerely lament his loss, 
he was a brave and a good Officer. 

Mr. Pendleton 84 obtaind my Deed; or a Bond, or something 
obligatory upon me, and my heirs, to make him a title to the 
Land he had of me, and sold you, upon the purchase Money 
being paid, not one farthing of which has yet been done, even 
the last years Rent, if I remember right, which he took upon 
himself to pay, is yet behind. However, so soon as I can get 

83 Col. Hugh Stephenson, of the Maryland and Virginia Rifle Regiment. He seems 
to have died from illness. 

84 Col. Philip Pendleton, of Berkeley, Va. The land sold was a part of Washington's 
Bullskin plantation in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. 


Evidences, I will send a power of Attorney to Lund Wash- 
ington to make legal conveyance of the Land, to you. In the 
meanwhile the Instrument of writing I passed to Mr. Pendleton 
will always be good against my Heirs, upon the Condition's 
of it being complied with. 

Matters in this Quarter, have by no means worn that favour- 
able aspect you have been taught to believe from the publica- 
tions in the Gazettes. The pompous Acct. of the Marches, and 
Counter Marches of the Militia, tho' true so far as relates to 
the Expence, is false with respect to the Service, for you could 
neither get them to stay in Camp or fight when they were there, 
in short, it may truely be said they were eternally coming and 
going without rendering the least Earthly Service, altho' the 
expence of them surpasses all description. 

At no one time since General Howe's arrival at Staten Island 
has my Force been equal (in Men fit for duty) to his; and yet, 
people at a distance, as I have understood by Letters, have con- 
ceivd that they were scarce a mouthful for us. To this cause, 
the number of Posts we were obliged to occupy, in order to se- 
cure our Communication with the Country; and the intended 
mode of Attack is to be attributed our Retreat from Long Island, 
and the Evacuation of New York. 

We found that General Howe had no Inclination to make 
an Attack upon our Lines at the last mentioned place. We dis- 
covered at the sametime by their movements, and our Intelli- 
gence, that with the assistance of their Ships they intended to 
draw a Line round us, and cut of all communication, between 
the City and Country; thereby reducing us to the necessity of 
fighting our way out under every disadvantage, surrendering 
at discretion, or Starving. That they might have accomplished 
one or the other of these, if we had stayed at New York, is 
certain; because the City, as I presume you know, stands upon 


the point of a narrow Neck of Land laying between the East 
and North Rivers; and not more than a Mile Wide for Six 
or Seven Miles back; both Rivers having sufficient depth of 
Water for Ships of any burthen; and because they were not 
only Superior in Numbers, but could bring their whole force 
to any one point, whereas we, to keep open the communication 
were obliged to have an extended Line, or rather a chain of 
Posts, for near 18 Miles. 

It may be asked how we come to take possession of, and 
continue so long in a place thus Circumstanced; to the first 
I answer, that the Post was taken, and the Works advanced, 
before I left Boston, and to the Second, that if our strength had 
been equal to the determination of Congress we should have 
had Men enough to defend the City and Secured the Commu- 
nication, if their behaviour had been good. 

Our retreat from Long Island was made without any loss, so 
might that have been from New York, but for a defect in the 
department of the Quarter Master Genls. not providing Teams 
enough; and for the dastardly behaviour of part of our Troops, 
two Brigades of which run away from a small party of the 
Enemy, and left me in the Field with only my Aid de Camps. 
The day after our Retreat from New York (which happend 
on the 15th Ulto.) we had a pretty smart skirmish with the En- 
emy, in which about 60 of our Men were killed and Wounded, 
and by the Smallest 100 and by most other Accts. two hun- 
dred of the Enemy. In this Ingagement poor Majr. Leitch of 
Weedon's Regiment received three Wounds through his Side, 
of which he died on Wednesday last, after we thought him 
almost Well. Since that nothing extraordinary has happen'd 
tho' an Attack from the Enemy has been, and now is, daily 
expected. We are strengthning our Post, as the Enemy also 
are theirs. 


My love to, and best wishes attends my Sister and the Family, 
as also our Friends at Fairfield; to these please to add my Com- 
pliments to Mr. Booth, 85 and all other Friends, and be assured 
that with the sincerest love and regard, I am, etc. [h.s.p.] 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 5, 1776. 

Parole . Countersign . 

The General conceiving it to be his indispensible duty to 
lay before the Congress the proceedings of the General Court 
Martial, on the trial of Ensign McCumber, has received the 
following Orders from them, which he desires those Members, 
who were favourers of the first judgement would immediately 
comply with. 

In Congress, Septr. 30th. 1776 

That General Washington be directed to call upon such of the Mem- 
bers, of the Court Martial, as sat in the trial and concur'd in the acquital, 
of Ensign McCumber; to assign the reasons for their first judgement, to- 
gether with the Names of such of the said Members, who were for the 
acquital; to be returned to Congress. 

For the greater ease and convenience of doing the duty, the 
General directs, that the two Virginia Regiments be formed 
into a Brigade, and for the present be under the Command of 
the eldest Colonel thereof. Also that the regiments lately from 
Rhode Island, and the Militia Regiments from Connecticut, 
under the Command of Lieut. Col. Storrs 86 and Major Graves, 87 
be formed into another Brigade, and at present be under the 
command of Col. Lippet 88 — Proper persons to do the duty of 

^Possibly William Booth, of Westmoreland, Va., as Samuel Washington was prob- 
ably at Chotank, Va., at this date. 
88 Lieut. Col. Ebenezer Storrs. 
87 Maj. Silvanus Graves. 
88 Col. Christopher Lippett, of the Rhode Island Militia. 


Brigade Majors, to be recommended by the Colonel who com- 
mands them, who will be paid during the time of their acting 
in that office: It is expected that Gentlemen capable of doing 
the duty, will be recommended, and none others; as it is a mel- 
ancholy thing, to have the business of the Army, conducted 
with irregularity and sloth; when every thing should put on 
the face of activity and life. 

After Monday, no Adjutant on the East-side of Hudson's 
River, will be allowed to take orders at Head Quarters, but they 
must attend their Brigade Majors, and receive 'em from them — 
If any Brigade Major is sick, or otherwise unable to attend, the 
Brigadier, or Colonel commanding, is to signify it to the Adju- 
tant General, and recommend some suitable person to act in 
his stead. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 6, 1776. 

Parole . Countersign . 

Forty men, one Capt: two Sub's to be furnished by the Regi- 
ments at Mount Washington, to assist in ballasting the Vessels : 
They are to take Orders from Andrew Ober on board the Sloop 
Nightingale — This party to be continued 'till the business is 
done; Besides, the above regiments stationed at Mount Wash- 
ington, are to furnish Men in proportion to their strenght for 
the works there. Col Lippet's Brigade is to furnish men for the 
Works opposite Mount Washington, to be laid out by Col 
Putnam, from whom they are to take Orders. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 6, 1776. 
Sir: I beg leave to inform you, that in consequence of my 
directions, founded on your favor of the 21st Ulto. Governors 


Brown and Skeene are arrived within the Neighbourhood of 
this place and will be conveyed to morrow, between the Hours 
of one and Two, to one of the Ships of War in the North River, 
when it is hoped that my Lord Sterling will be permitted to 
return, as also Mr. Lovell, if he is come from Halifax. 

The particular manner in which you rest upon me, by your 
Letter of the 4th. instant, a performance of the Agreement be- 
tween General Arnold and Capt: Forster, was entirely unex- 
pected, as I inclosed you some time ago, the Resolutions of 
Congress upon the Subject, by which you would perceive that 
they, to whom I am amenable, had taken upon themselves the 
consideration of the Matter. As to the Prisoners mentioned in 
my Letter of the 23d, their Exchange shall be effected, as soon 
as the circumstances I made you acquainted with will admit of. 

The inclosed Note for Mrs. DeLancey, you will be pleased 
to have conveyed by the earliest Opportunity. I am etc. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, 

10 Miles from New York, October 7, 1776. 
Sir: I yesterday had the honor of receiving your Letter of the 
4th. Augt. and I take the earliest Opportunity of testifying 
the pleasure I have in complying with your request, by imme- 
diately ordering the Release of Monsr. Dechambault. He shall 
be accommodated with a Passage in the first Vessel that sails 
from Philadelphia to the French Colonies in the West Indies. 
Had it not been for your Interposition Monsr. Dechambault 
must have remained a prisoner till released by a Cartel, but I 
could not hesitate to comply with a Request made by a Noble- 
man who by his public Countenance of our Cause has rendered 

89 Governor General of the French part of San Domingo. 


such essential Services to the thirteen united independent States 
of America, whose Armies I have the honor to command. 
I have the honor to be, etc. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 7, 1776. 

Sir: I do myself the honor of transmitting to you a Copy of 
a Letter from the Compte D'Emery, Governor General of the 
French part of St. Domingo, which I received Yesterday and 
also my Answer, which I have inclosed and left open for the 
Consideration of Congress, wishing that it may be sealed, if 
they approve of the Seiur. De Chambeau's releasement, and 
which I think may be attended with many valuation conse- 
quences. If Congress concur in Sentiment with me, they will 
be pleased to give directions for his passage by the first oppor- 
tunity to the French Islands; If they do not I shall be obliged 
by your returning my Letter. 90 

I have also the pleasure of inclosing a Copy of a Letter from 
Monsr. P. Pennet, 91 which came to hand last night and which 
contains intelligence of an agreeable and interesting nature, 
for which I beg leave to refer you to the Copy. 

The Polite manner in which Monsr. Pennet has requested to 
be one of my Aid de Camps, demands my acknowledgements. 
As the appointment will not be attended with any expence and 
will shew a proper regard for his complaisance and the Attach- 
ment he is pleased to express for the service of the American 
States, I shall take the Liberty of complying with his requi- 
sition and transmit him a Brevet Commission, provided the 
same shall be agreeable to Congress. Their Sentiments upon 

80 Congress approved this recommendation and voted the release of De Chambault. 
"Pierre Penet. 


the Subject you will be kind enough to favor me with, by the 
first opportunity. 92 

The Enclosed Letter for the Seignr DeChambeau 93 you will 
please to forward to him, if he is to be enlarged, after closing It. 

Before I conclude, I must take the liberty to observe that 
I am under no small difficulties on account of the French Gen- 
tlemen that are here in consequence of the Commissions they 
have received, having no means to employ them or to afford 
them an Opportunity of rendering that service, they themselves 
wish to give, or which perhaps is expected by the public. Their 
want of our language, is an objection to their being joined to 
any of the Regiments here at this time, were there vacancies, 
and not other obstacles. These considerations induce me to 
wish, that Congress will adopt and point out some particular 
mode to be observed respecting them; What it should be, they 
will be best able to determine: But to me it appears, that their 
being here now can be attended with no valuable consequences, 
and that as the power of appointing Officers for the new Army 
is vested in the Conventions &ca. of the Several States, it will be 
necessary for Congress to direct them to be provided for in the 
Regiments to be raised, according to the ranks they would wish 
them to bear, or I am convinced, they will never be taken in, 
let their merit be what it may, or to form them into a distinct 
Corps which may be encreased in time. They seem to be Gen- 
teel, sensible Men, and I have no doubt of their making good 
Officers as soon as they can learn as much of our Language as 
to make themselves well understood, but unless Congress inter- 
feres, with their particular directions to the States, they will 
never be incorporated in any of the Regiments to be raised 

Congress granted the permission, and Penet was appointed a brevet aide-de-camp 
to the Commander in Chief, the only such appointment made. 

93 Washington did not, apparently, keep a copy of his letter to De Chambault. 


and without they are, they will be entirely at a loss and in 
the most irksome situation for some thing to do, as they now 
are. 94 Ihave&ca. 95 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 7, 1776. 
Sir: Doctor Skinner 96 having been very urgent and pressing 
to go to Philadelphia, in order to procure Medicine for the 
sick of his Regiment, I could by no means refuse my assent to 
this proposition. By him I beg leave to inform you, that the 
applications of the Regimental Surgeons, are very frequent and 
importunate, and it is not in my power to satisfy their demands; 
their situation will be fully made known by Doctor Morgan's 97 
Letter to one of my Aid de Camps, in answer to one wrote to 
him on that Subject, which I have inclosed to you for your 
consideration. I have the Honor etc. 


Head Quarters, October 7, 1776. 
Sir: As I am credibly inform'd that the inhabitants along the 
Sound carry on a frequent communication with the Enemy on 
Long Island, you are hereby instructed to collect all the boats, 
and other small craft on the sound, from Hare Neck downwards 
to any extent you shall think proper, and convey them to any 
place you shall conceive to be most convenient. 98 [ ms. h. s. ] 

84 Probably the four French officers who arrived in September in the Reprisal, 
Capt. Lambert Wickes. 

95 In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. The letter sent varies in minor verbal 
details from the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers, which is also in 
Harrison's writing. 

08 Alexander Skinner, surgeon of the First Virginia Regiment. 

97 John Morgan, director general and chief physician of Continental Hospital. The 
Morgan correspondence is not in the Washington Papers. 

98 In the writing of William Grayson. 



Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 7, 1776. 

Parole . Countersign . 

Capt. William Mc Williams, of the 3rd Virginia Regiment is 
to do the duty of Brigade Major in Col Weedon's Brigade, 'till 
further orders. 

Representation having been made to the General, that num- 
bers of the Picquet Guard are absent from their Posts, under 
pretence of fetching provisions and water; He positively orders, 
that every man (as well Officers, as Soldiers) shall carry pro- 
visions with, or have it brought to them at their posts, by their 
Messmates; as the safety of the Army depends too much on 
their diligence and attention, to admit of such practices — It is 
moreover expected of the Officer commanding the Picquet, 
that he does not, under any pretence whatever, suffer the men 
to straggle from their respective Posts, without they are sent 
upon scouting parties by himself; But always to have them in 
readiness to give such effectual opposition, as to allow time to 
the line to turn out; which being the end and design of Guards, 
is defeated if the men, who mount, are not in a posture to give 
instant opposition. 

The Quarter Master General is immediately to provide twenty 
Wood- Axes for the Picquet Guards, in front of our lines; When 
provided, he is to deliver them to the Officer commanding the 
Picquet, who is to see that they are delivered over to the officer 
relieving, and so from one to the other — the Officer failing will 
be answerable — These Axes are intended for the purpose of 
providing Wood, arid erecting Hutts for the Guards, which 
last ought not to be delayed. 

The Brigadiers, and Officers commanding Regiments, are to 
prevent the irregular and promiscuous placing of Hutts, and 
to see that they are built in such a manner, as to stand the 


weather and weight of Snow, which may lodge on them, that 
no accident may befal the men. 

Serjt. George Douglass of Capt. Foster's" Company, late Mc- 
Dougall's Regiment, being convicted by a General Court Mar- 
tial whereof Col Weedon is president of "Embezelling and 
selling provisions, belonging to the Company" — is sentenced 
to be reduced to the Ranks, and whipped 39 Lashes — to be con- 
tinued under Provost-Guard for "Mutinous Speeches and disre- 
spectful language of the Commander in Chief" — George Harris 
of Capt. Howell's 1 Company, Col Wind's Regiments tried 
by the same Court Martial, and convicted of "Desertion" — is 
ordered to be whipped 39 Lashes. 

The General approves the above Sentences, and the Provost 
Marshall is to see the sentence on Harris, executed to morrow 
morning at Guard mounting. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 8, 1776. 
Parole . Countersign ■ . 

The late Serjeant Douglass of Capt. Foster's Company, late 
McDougall's Regiment, being convicted by a General Court 
Martial, whereof Col Weedon was President of "Mutinous 
Speeches and speaking disrespectfully of the Commander in 
Chief" and sentenced to receive 39 Lashes — The General ap- 
proves the Sentence, and orders it to be executed at the usual 
time and place — This Offender being a very bad character, is 
to be continued in the Provost Guard 'till further Orders. 

The Commanding Officer of the Rangers having repre- 
sented that Soldiers are continually straggling down to Harlem 

""The returns of the first four New York regiments for November, 1776, do not 
show a Captain Foster. In the court-martial record he is said to be of the regiment 
commanded by Major Tuthill. 

*Capt. Silas Howell, of the First New Jersey Regiment. 


and other Places; frequently without Arms — and that when 
he has apprehended, and sent them to their Regiments, no far- 
ther notice has been taken of them; As this is a plain breach 
of General Orders, the General hopes there is some mistake 
in the matter; however to prevent it in future, he now orders 
that no officer or soldier (Rangers excepted) go on any pre- 
tence beyond the lines, without leave from himself, a Major 
General, the Brigadier of the day, or the Adjutant General, in 
writing; unless either of those officers are with them in person: 
And in order to distinguish the Rangers, they are to wear some- 
thing white round their Arms. If any such Straggler is found 
hereafter, he is to be sent to the quarter-guard of the Regiment, 
tried by a Regimental Court Martial, and receive ten Lashes 

There is now an issuing Store for Ammunition, near Genl. 
Spencer's quarters, the Officers of every Regiment will be re- 
sponsible if there is any deficiency in their regiments, as they 
may now receive a full supply by making a Return of the State 
of their Ammunition, and getting an Order from the Adjutant 

The Brigade lately commanded by Genl MifHin is to be under 
the care of Lord Stirling who is just returned from his 

The General desires the commanding Officers of each Regi- 
ment, or Corps, will give in a list of the names of the Officers 
and Men, who were killed, taken, or missing in the Action of 
the 27th of August on Long Island, and since that period. He 
desires the Returns may be correct, and that any persons who 
have it in their power, will give in the Returns of this kind in 
behalf of any Militia Regiments which are discharged. 

The General, to prevent any plea of ignorance, again re- 
peats his order against all kinds of Gaming, as destructive and 


pernicious to the service : He hopes the officers will set no exam- 
ples of this kind, and that they will punish it among the men. 

The General is surprised to find that manning the lines every 
morning, is discontinued — He desires that the practice of doing 
it, for the future, may not be omitted, unless contradicted by 
General Orders. 

The Quarter-Master General is to use the greatest diligence, 
in providing straw for the accomodation of the troops. 

Lieut. Kidd 2 of Col Smallwood's Regiment, convicted by a 
Court Martial whereof Col Ware was President of a breach of 
General Orders, in "Taking fatigue-men from their duty" — 
is sentenced to be dismissed the service — Ensign Fairly 3 of 
the Regiment late McDougall's, tried by the same Court Mar- 
tial, for the same, is acquitted and discharged from Arrest. — 
Capt. Hardenburgh 4 of Col Ritzema's Regiment, convicted 
by the same Court Martial of "Defrauding his men" is sen- 
tenced to be cashiered, and his name, place of abode, and 
offence, published agreeable to the 2nd. and 4th. late addi- 
tional Articles of war — 

The General approves each of the above Sentences, and 
orders to be executed. 


Head Quarters, Heights of Harlem, October 8, 1776. 
Sir: I was this Morning honored with your favor of the 2d 
Inst., and beg leave to return you my thanks for the Measures 
you have adopted, upon my request for obtaining an Account 
of the Prisoners in your State, and for your Assurance, that 
I shall be furnished with a Return, as soon as it is procured, in 
order that I may give further directions about them. 

2 Lieut. John Kidd. 

3 Ensign James Fairly. 

4 Capt. Cornelius Hardenbergh. 


The proposition respecting the Prisoners that wish to remain 
with us, and about the expence that has been incurred for the 
maintenance of the whole, that have been in your State; I shall 
lay before Congress by the earliest opportunity and will trans- 
mit you the result of their opinion. However it appears to me; 
that there will be a necessity for returning the whole of their 
prisoners, not only because the Ballance is against us, but be- 
cause I am informed, it was particularly Stipulated on the part 
of Genl. Montgomery for those that were taken in Canada, the 
Case will be hard upon those who want to remain and who 
have all become attached to us, and should Congress determine 
on their being returned, it will be but right that some pains 
should be used, to inform them of the reasons leading to the 
Measure and I doubt not, if they act with proper Caution, that 
they may afterwards effect their escape, to which they should 
be encouraged, indeed I think, if they are heartily disposed 
towards us, that their Exchange may be productive of many good 
Consequences; they may extend their influence to many others 
and who perhaps will be induced to desert. 

I hope, the resentment which your State mean to Express 
against those, who have scandalously deserted from the defence 
of our Cause, will have a happy effect, and prevent a like Con- 
duct in future; Nothing can be too severe for them. Before the 
receipt of your favor, I had desired the General Officers to make 
out a list of such Field and other Officers, as are esteemed wor- 
thy of Command and intitled to Commissions in the Service. 
This is a Consideration of exceeding Importance, for without 
good Officers, we can never have Troops that will be worthy of 
the name, and with them we may in time have an Army equal 
to any. We have good materials to work upon. As soon as 
the list is obtained, I will forward it by the first Conveyance 
that may offer. I have strongly inculcated on the Genls., the 


impropriety of giving in or recommending any, but those who 
are fit for Service; and you may rest assured Sir, as you have 
been pleased to honor me with your Confidence, on this occa- 
sion, that as far as it shall be in my Power, I will only return 
those that are well Spoken of, and who from report will Answer, 
what you have ever had in view, the advancement of our Com- 
mon rights and the Happiness of the United States. I am etc. 

P. S. the following Payments have been made to the Militia 
of your State, lately here. 

1776 Dolls. 

Sepr. 28. Major Nathl. Torry for his Regiment 5185^ 

30th Capt Amos Barnes 15th Regt. Commd. by Major Shaw . 521 1 f| 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 8, 1776. 

Sir: Since I had the honor of writing you Yesterday, I have 
been favoured with a letter from the Honble. Council of Mas- 
sachusetts Bay, covering one from Richard Derby Esquire, a 
copy of which is herewith transmitted, as it contains intelli- 
gence of an important and interesting nature. 

As an Exchange of Prisoners is about to take place, I am 
induced, from a Question stated in a Letter I received from 
Governor Trumbull this morning, to ask the Opinion of Con- 
gress, in what manner the States that have had the care of them, 
are to [be] reimbursed the expences incurred on their Account. 
My want of information in this instance or whether any account 
is to be sent in with the Prisoners, would not allow me to 
give him an Answer, as nothing that I recollect, has ever been 
said upon the Subject. He also mentions another matter, Viz. 
Whether such privates as are Mechanics and others who may 
desire to remain with us, should be obliged to return: 5 In 

"The Board of War reported on Washington's letter, and Congress (October 14) 
resolved that the several States submit their accounts for prisoner expenses. The 

1776] NEED OF MONEY 183 

respect to the latter, I conceive there can be no doubt of our being 
under a necessity of returning the whole, a proposition having 
been made on our part for a General Exchange, and that agreed 
to; besides, the ballance of Prisoners is greatly against us, and 
I am informed, it was particularly stipulated by General Mont- 
gomery, that all those that were taken in Canada should be ex- 
changed, whenever a Cartel was settled for the purpose. Under 
these circumstances, I should suppose the several Committees 
having the care of them, should be instructed to make the most 
exact returns of the whole, however willing a part should be to 
continue with us; at the same time I should think it not improper 
to inform them, of the reasons leading to the measure, and that 
they should be invited to escape afterwards, which in all prob- 
ability they may effect without much difficulty if they are 
attached to us, extending their influence to many more and 
bringing them away also. 

The situation of our Affairs and the present establishment 
of the Army, requiring our most vigorous exertions to engage 
a New One, I presume it will be necessary to furnish the Pay 
Master General, as early as possible, with Money to pay the 
bounty lately resolved on, to such Men as willinlist. Prompt pay 
perhaps may have a happy effect and induce the continuance of 
some who are here, but without it, I am certain that nothing can 
be done, nor have we time to loose in making the experiment, 
but then it may be asked, who is to recruit, or who can consider 
themselves as Officers for that purpose, till the Conventions of 
the different States have made the Appointments. 

Yesterday afternoon the exchange between Lord Stirling and 
Governor Browne was carried into execution and his Lordship 
is now here; he confirms the Intelligence mentioned by Capt: 
Souther about the Transports he met, by the arrival of the 

recommendation "That all Prisoners captivated by the Army of the United States, 
whether Mechanics or not, be included in the exchange to be made between General 
Washington and the Enemy " was " postponed." 


Daphne, Man of War, (a twenty Gun Ship) a few days ago, 
with twelve Ships under her convoy having light Horse on 
board. They sailed with about Twenty in each and lost about 
eighty in their passage, besides those in the Vessel taken by 
Captain Souther: he further adds, that he had heard it acknowl- 
edged more than once, that in the Action of the 16th. Ulto. 6 the 
Enemy had a Hundred men killed, about sixty Highlanders 
of the 42d. Regiment, and 40 of the light Infantry. This confes- 
sion coming from themselves, we may reasonably conclude did 
not exaggerate the number. 

In pursuance of the Resolve which you were pleased to trans- 
mit me, I called upon the Members who concurred in the 
acquittal of McCumber, to assign their reasons. Inclosed you 
have their Answer, by which you will perceive the direction 
has given them great uneasiness, and from the information 
I have received, it has become a matter of much more general 
concern than could have been expected, insomuch that I will 
take the liberty to advise, that it may rest were it is; having 
heard that most of the Officers have become party to it and 
consider that the resolve materially affects the whole. 7 

October 9. 
About 8 O'clock this morning, Two Ships of 44. Guns each, 
supposed to be the Roebuck and Phoenix and a frigate of 20 
Guns, with three or four Tenders got under way from about 
Bloomingdale where they had been laying some time and stood 
with an easy Southerly breeze towards our Chevaux defrize, 
which we hoped would have interrupted their passage while 
our Batteries played upon them, but to our surprize and mor- 
tification, they ran through without the least difficulty and 

6 Harlem Heights, N. Y. 

T This report, dated Oct. 7, 1776, is in the Papers of the Continental Congress. In it 
the court declined to give its reasons for the verdict. (See General Orders, Sept. 22, 
1776, ante.) 


without receiving any apparent damage from our Forts, tho' 
they kept up a heavy fire from both sides of the River. Their 
destination or views cannot be known with certainty, but most 
probably they are sent to stop the Navigation and cut off the 
supplies of boards &ca. which we should have received and of 
which we are in great need. They are standing up and I have 
dispatched an Express to the convention of this State, that 
Notice may be immediately communicated to General Clin- 
ton, at the Highland Fortifications, to put him on his Guard 
in case they Should have any designs against them and that 
precautions may be taken, to prevent the Craft belonging to 
the River falling into their hands. I have &ca. 8 


Head Quarters, October 8, 1776. 
Sir: I have receiv'd your letter, requesting information, rela- 
tive to the persons who are to draw the rations of the sick; 
'Tis true, there was a general order, directing a payment of the 
rations, to the Director Genl. for those sick, who were lodg'd 
in the General hospital but the inconveniences, resulting to the 
sick, from this piece of duty being disputed and unsettled be- 
tween the General and Regimental Surgeons being so great; 
I did, (to relieve their sufferings and to render their situation 
more comfortable) issue out special directions, for the Col. of 
each regiment, to chuse a proper person to carry the sick into 
the country, and provide proper necessaries and accommoda- 
tions for them out of the ration money. I did not think it 
proper or advisable to make this a general order, lest it should 
have been establish'd as a precedent, and become a color for 

8 In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison, who left out the word within brackets 
in the second paragraph in the letter sent, though he included it in his "Letter Book" 
copy, which varies in minor verbal details from the above. 


some imposition, after the present necessity for the measure 
shall have subsided; though I must observe to you, that in the 
settlement of your accounts, there will be the same attention 
paid to a special as to general order; I should therefore con- 
ceive it will be productive of no inconvenience whatever, to 
pay the ration money to the person appointed as before men- 
tioned, by the Col. when he furnishes you a proper certificate 
specifying the number of men, the name of the regiment, and 
also the length of time his officer has had them under his care, 
lam, etc. [c.s.l.] 


Harlem Heights, October 9, 1776. 
Dear Sir: You Letter of yesterday is before me, with the list 
Inclosed; but this is doing the matter by halves only, and 
the delay must inevitably defeat the end; as it is impossible 
from the nature of things that the different Governments can 
withold the nomination of Officers much longer. I therefore 
entreat you to delay not a moments time in summoning the Offi- 
cers (under Sanction from me) to consider of this matter, that 
the Lists may be forwarded, the Committee of Congress di- 
rected this. Genl. Lincoln earnestly recommended it. Gov- 
ernor Trumbull has requested it in precise terms. In short, the 
good of the Service, and our Duty, renders it necessary; let it be 
received in never so unfavorable a light, (which by the by I do 
not conceive to be the case) by the States they are sent to. I think 
you would do well to consult the Field Officers with respect to 
the Captns. &ca. I beseech you once more to delay no time ; and 
I beseech you to exhort the Officers you consult to lay aside all 
local prejudices and Attachments in their choice. The Salvation 
of their Country, and all we are contending for depends (under 
Providence) upon a good choice of Officers to make this Army 


formidable to the Enemy; and Servicable to the cause we are 
endeavouring to support./ Men who have endeavoured to sup- 
port the Character of Officers, and who have not placed them- 
selves upon a level with the common Soldiery, are fit to be 
prefered; Officers of the latter class will never, in short they can- 
not, conduct matters with propriety ; but I need not point out the 
qualifications necessary to constitute a good Officer; your own 
observations and good judgments will readily point out who 
are, and who are not fit for the new appointment. I would have 
you confine yourself to the Massachusetts bay Officers. 

Inclosed you have some Lists handed into me by General 
Green which may be attended to with the rest. Inclosed also, 
you will receive the opinion, and report of Colo. Knox and 
Colo. Putnam respecting our Works of defence, which so far 
as relates to your Department I shall have no objection to the 
Execution of with all possible dispatch; those on the Island we 
will attend to. 

I have approvd the Sentences of the Court and desire you 
will order them to be executed. I am, etc. [ms.h.s.] 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 9, 1776. 
Sir: Agreeable to your request and the Promise contained in 
my Letter of yesterday; I beg leave to transmit you, the inclosed 
list, comprehending the names of such Gentlemen as are rec- 
ommended by the General Officers from your State, as proper 
persons to be promoted in the Regiments you are about to raise, 
with the Ranks which they conceive they ought to bear. Sen- 
sible that the very existence, that the well doing of every Army, 
depends upon good Officers; I urged, I pressed the Gentlemen 
to whom the Business was confided, and whose Situation has 


given them an Opportunity, of being better acquainted thro' the 
different Corps than I am, to pay their most serious attention to 
the Matter; and to return such and only such, as will in their 
estimation, by their fidelity, attachment and Good conduct, pro- 
mote the great End we have in View, the establishment of our 
rights and the happiness of our Country, by that mode which 
sad necessity has obliged us to pursue. This I hope they have 
done, they have taken no Notice of any officer in the Northern 
Army or of those of the 17th. Regt. (Huntingdon's) who were 
taken on Long Island; whose Imprisonment I should suppose, 
if they have Merit, should be no Objection to their having pro- 
motion; Nor do they mean by the list they have given in, to 
preclude others of greater Merit, than those they have Men- 
tioned; if they are to be found. Congress by a late Resolution, 
have allowed a pay Master to each Regiment, in the appoint- 
ment of which, I would recommend, that particular Care be 
had to the Choosing Men, intimately acquainted with and well 
versed in Accounts and who will be able to keep them in a 
fair and distinct manner; as they will have not only to receive 
the Regiments Pay, but to keep Accounts of every transaction 
incident to them; such as respect their Cloathes &c. In some 
appointments lately made by the Field Officers to whom I sub- 
mitted the Matter, they nominated Men who could not write 
their Names legibly. 

As our present Army is upon the Eve of their dissolution; It 
behoves us to exert every Nerve, to inlist immediately for the 
New one. Without, I am convinced we shall have none to op- 
pose the Enemy, and who will have it in their power, to spread 
havock and devastation wheresoever they will; I would there- 
fore submit it to your consideration, whether it may not be 
proper, as soon as you have made choice of your Officers and 
which I think should be effected as early as possible, to appoint 


a Committee, with power to repair to this place and make such 
arrangements, as may be Necessary with respect to those who 
are now in the Service, in order that they may begin to recruit 
out of the present Corps, without any loss of time. 

I perceive the Genls. in the list they have made; have set down 
the Commissary 9 for a Regiment. In this I think they have 
done exceedingly right and that it is nothing more than a re- 
ward justly due his Merit, in case he should quit his present 
department; However I hope that the apprehensions, which 
have given rise to this step, will never become realities, and 
that he will continue in his office and upon such terms, as may 
be agreeable to him; but lest he should decline, the provision 
they have made, is extremely proper. 

I this Minute saw Genl. Spencer, who informed me, that 
they had never taken the Officers, Prisoners on long Island into 
Consideration, in making out their Arrangement; not know- 
ing whether they could be noticed in their present situation. 
I have made out a list of them and as I have before observed, 
If they are Men of Merit, their imprisonment, most certainly 
should not operate to their prejudice, if it can be avoided. If a 
principle of that sort was adopted, it would give the greatest 
discouragement, and have a direct tendency to suppress every 
brave and manly enterprize, which might be attended with 
Captivity. I would also mention Major Sherman, 10 Son of 
Mr. Sherman of Congress, a Young Gentleman who appears 
to me and who is generally esteemed an Active and Valuable 

"Joseph Trumbull, Commissary General of Stores of the Continental Army. He 
was also Commissary General of Purchases of the Continental Army from June, 1777, 
to August, 1777, and a member of the Continental Board of War from November, 
1777, to April, 1778. He died July 23, 1778. 

10 Maj. Isaac Sherman, son of Roger Sherman, of the Twenty-sixth Continental In- 
fantry. He was lieutenant colonel of the Second Connecticut Regiment in January, 
1777; lieutenant colonel and commandant of the Eighth Connecticut Regiment in 
October, 1779; transferred to the Fifth Connecticut Regiment in January, 1781; 
retired Jan. 1, 1783. 


Officer; whom the General Officers have omitted to set down 
in their Lists, expecting I suppose (if they thought of him at 
all), that he would be provided for in the Massachusetts Regi- 
ments, because he is in one at this time. But as it is probable, 
promotions in that State will be confined to their ov/n people, 
I should apprehend that he should be properly noticed in your 
appointments, lest we should loose an Officer, who so far as 
I can judge, promises good Services to his Country. 

On yesterday morning, three Ships of War 2 of 44 and 
the other of 20 Guns, with two or three Tenders, passed up the 
North River, without meeting any interruption from the Chi- 
vaux defrise or receiving any material damage from our Bat- 
teries; tho' they kept a heavy fire at them from both sides of 
the River; their views most probably are to cut off all supplies 
of Boards &c. which might come down the River and of which 
we shall have great need. I have given directions, to proceed 
as fast as possible in carrying on the Obstructions and I would 
fain hope, if they allow us a little more time, that they will be 
so far compleated, as to render the passage dangerous, if not 
altogether insecure. I have the honor etc. 

P. S. In respect to the appointment of officers, I would beg 
leave to add, that the merit of the officers who went thro' the 
Canada expedition with General Arnold, should in my opin- 
ion be particularly noticed: They are now upon their parole 
and Cannot Act; but should not suitable provision be made 
for them against their Releasement, which I should suppose 
ought to be among the first. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 9, 1776. 

Parole. . Countersign . 

The General positively forbids covering the bottoms of Tents 
with Earth, as in a few days that situation, must render them 


totally unfit for service — The commanding Officer of each 
Corps, will take care to see that this Order is strictly complied 
with in his own Encampment — In Order that the Regiments 
may get out of Tents as soon as possible, the Brigadiers may 
apply to the Qr. Mr. General for Boards, and under his direc- 
tion, employ the spare time of their men in building Barracks, 
or Hutts, fit for Winter use. These Hutts, or Barracks, are to 
be built with regularity. The Works of defence are not to be 
retarded by these buildings; they are to be advanced by the 
men off duty, if tools are to be had for them to work. 

The respective Brigadiers are to inquire into the state of the 
Ammunition of their Brigades, and every Colonel is to have 
a Box of spare Cartridges, to supply occasional deficiencies. 

Edward Sherburne Esqr. is appointed Aide-De-Camp to 
General Sullivan, and is to be obeyed and respected accordingly. 

David Dexter Esqr. is appointed to act as Brigade Major to 
the Brigade under Col Lippet. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 10, 1776. 

Parole . Countersign . 

If the weather is favourable to morrow morning, the General 
purposes to visit the troops at their Alarm posts. Commanding 
Officers of regiments, and others, are desired to make them- 
selves well acquainted with their Alarm Posts, and the best 
ways to them; And also with the Ground in general, upon 
which they may be called to act, so as to avail themselves of 
every advantage. If Officers do not acquire this knowledge, 
they will miss the best opportunity of distinguishing them- 
selves, and serving their Country. 

If there should be any bad weather, the greatest care is to be 
taken of the Arms and Ammunition; and Officers must attend 


to it themselves, or, from experience we know, there will be 
great danger of their being unfit for action. 

Whenever any Field Officer is sick, leaves the Camp, or by 
any other means becomes incapable of duty, his Brigade Major 
is desired to signify it to the Adjutant General, otherwise it is 
impossible to have the duty regularly done. 

Daniel Murphey of Capt. Edward's 11 Company, 3rd. Penn- 
sylvania Battalion; Thomas Dickens of Capt. Hobby's 12 Com- 
pany Col Ritzema's Regiment — John Stone of Capt. Grubb's 13 
Company, Col Brodhead's Battalion — All having been tried 
by a Court Martial whereof Col Weedon is President, and 
convicted of "Desertion" — are sentenced to receive 39 Lashes 
each — the above Daniel Murphey having been convicted by 
the same Court Martial of "Inlisting into another Regiment" — 
is sentenced to receive 39 Lashes for that offence. 

The General approves the above Sentences, and orders them 
to be executed at the usual time and place. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 10, 1776. 
Dear Sir: I am now to acknowledge your favor of the 1st. 
Instt, and to inform you, that the two Sachems of the Caugh- 
nuagas, with Mr. Deane the Interpreter, have been with me 
and spent three or four days. I shewed them every Civility in 
my power and presented them with such Necessaries as our 
barren Stores afford, and they were pleased to take. I also 
had them shewn all our Works upon this Island, which I had 

11 Capt. Evan Edwards. He was transferred to Hartley's Additional Continental regi- 
ment Jan. 1, 1777; aide to General Lee this year; major of the Eleventh Pennsylvania 
Regiment in 1779; transferred to the Fourth Pennsylvania Regiment in 1781; retired 
Jan. 1, 1783. 

12 Capt. David Hobby, of the Third New York Regiment. Later he was major of 
New York Militia. 

13 Capt. Peter Grubb, of Miles's Pennsylvania rifle battalion. He resigned in July, 1778. 


manned to give 'em an Idea of our force and to do away the 
false notions they might have embibed, from the Tales which 
had been propagated among 'em. They seemed to think we 
were amazingly strong and said they had seen enough, with- 
out going to our posts in Jersey or the other side of Harlem 
River. They took their departure Yesterday morning and 
I hope with no unfavourable impressions. 

Your favor of the 6th, came to hand this day by Mr. Bennet, 
I have communicated the Contents, so far as it respects the 
Boards, to General Mifflin, who has resumed the Office of 
Quarter Master General, on Mr. Moylans resignation and the 
Application of Congress, he will write you to morrow about 
them, and will send the sum you require, by the return of 
Mr. Bennet. 

It gives me great pleasure to hear the Army is so well sup- 
plied with provision, and I would fain hope, that if the Enemy 
do not effect any thing in this or the next Month, that they will 
not attempt to pass the Lakes till early in the Spring, by which 
time perhaps we may be able to recruit our Army, tho' I have 
my fears that the Business will not go on with the ease and 
expedition, that I could wish. I have done all I could and urged 
strongly the propriety of giving the Soldiers a Suit of Cloaths 
annually; how Congress will determine on the Subject I know 
not, I have also advised the raising of the Officers pay. 

We are again deprived of the Navigation of this River by 
three Ships of War, Two of 44 and the other of 20 Guns with 
three or four Tenders passing our Chivaux de frize Yesterday 
Morning, and all our Batteries, without any kind of damage 
or interruption, notwithstanding a Heavy fire was kept up 
from both sides of the River. I have given directions to com- 
pleat the Obstructions as fast as possible, and I flatter myself, 
if they allow us a little time more that the passage will become 


extremely difficult, if not entirely insecure. Their views I im- 
agine are chiefly, to cut off our Supplies and probably to gain 
recruits. I am, etc. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October n, 1776. 

Parole . Countersign . 

Col Ewing," Lt. Col Penrose, 15 Major Fitzgerald, 16 Capts. 
Thorne, 17 Ballard, 18 Packay, 19 and Yates, 20 to sit as a Court of 
Enquiry into the Conduct of Col Van Cortlandt, 21 and Major 
Dey, 22 towards each other; to meet this afternoon at 3'O'Clock, 
at the Court Martial Room, and make report as soon as possible 
to the General — Brigade Majors to give them immediate notice. 

Talmadge 23 Esqr. is appointed Brigade Major to Genl. 

Wadsworth, and is to be obeyed, and respected accordingly. 

As there is an absolute necessity for the business of the Army 
to be carried on with regularity, and to do this, that the officers 
of each department should have the regulation and direction of 
matters, appertaining to their respective Offices, in Order that 
they may become amenable to the public, or the Commander 
in Chief, when called upon — It is hereby directed by the Gen- 
eral, that No Horse, or Waggon, shall be taken by any Officer, 
of whatever Rank, without an Order from Head Quarters, the 
Qr. Mr. General, or Waggon-Master General : But when either 

14 Col. Thomas Ewing, of the Third Maryland Battalion, Flying Camp. 

1 Lieut. Col. Joseph Penrose, of the Fifth Pennsylvania Regiment. 

"Maj. John Fitzgerald, of the Third Virginia Regiment. 

"Capt. Joseph(?) Thorne, of the New Jersey Militia. 

18 Capt. William Hudson Ballard, of the Sixth Continental Infantry. 

19 Capt. Aquila Paca, of the Second Maryland Battalion, Flying Camp. 
Capt. Thomas Yates, of the Second Maryland Battalion, Flying Camp. 

21 Col. Pierre Van Cortlandt, of the New York Militia. 

^Maj. Richard Dey, of the New Jersey Militia. 

"Benjamin Tallmadge. He was captain in the Second Continental Dragoons in 
December, 1776; major in April, 1777; thanked by Congress Dec. 6, 1780, for the cap- 
ture of Fort St. George on Long Island, N. Y.; managed the secret service of the main 
army around New York City from 1778 to the end of the war. 


are wanted for regimental uses, the application shall go from 
the Commanding Officer of the regiment, in writing to the 
Q: M: Gl: or W. M. Gl. who will issue his orders therefor; 
and if wanted for the dispatch of public business the applica- 
tion to be made by the Engineer in writing — all Teams be- 
longing to the public, or in their pay, are to be delivered to the 
Quarter Master General, registered, and under his direction. — 
The Quarter Master General is to take especial care of all 
Grain and Hay, belonging to the Public, and see that none 
of it is delivered, but by his order: And as these Articles are 
scarce, it is ordered, that all Officers, whose duty does not 
oblige them to be on horseback, dispose of the Horses, or send 
them out of Camp, immediately, as provender cannot be spared 
for them on any pretence. 

No Boards are to be taken for the use of any Brigade, or 
Regiment, without orders, nor delivered but by order of the 
Quarter Master General, who is to make as equal a distribu- 
tion among the Regiments as may be, and see they are put to 
the best use possible, and with as little waste, as there may be 
difficulty in getting them. 

Mutual Complaints having been made by Mr. Fisk the Engi- 
neer, and Mr Kinsey the Waggon Master against each odier. 
A Court of enquiry of 3 Captains, and 4 Subs — from Genl 
McDougall's Brigade to sit, and report the matter, with their 
opinion thereon; to meet to morrow Afternoon at 3 o'clock, 
at the Court Martial room. 

The General being accidentally prevented, from going to the 
Alarm-posts this morning; if the weather is fair, he will visit 
the Troops to morrow morning, accompanied by the General 
Officers; he hopes the whole line will turn out as full as possible. 

The time of the Fatigue Men going out is altered to 8 
O'clock, instead of Seven— The men are to breakfast before 


they go, as they are not to leave Work on that account. The 
General hopes the officers will exert themselves, to complete 
the works, as fast as possible, that the men may be the sooner 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October n, 1776. 
Sir: I beg leave to inform you, that since my Letter of the 
8th. and 9th Instt. which I had the honor of addressing you; 
Nothing of importance has occurred, except that the Ships of 
War, which I then mentioned, in their passage up the River, 
took a Sloop that was at Anchor oil the Mouth of Spitendevil, 
and Two of our Row Gallies, which they out Sailed. The 
Crews finding that they could not prevent them falling into the 
Enemy's Hands, run them near the Shore and effected then- 
own escape. From the Intelligence I have received, the Ships 
are now laying at Tarry Town, without having landed any Men, 
which seemed to be apprehended by some, or attempted any 
thing else. Their principal views, in all probability, are, to in- 
terrupt our Navigation and to receive such disaffected persons, 
as incline to take part against us; the former they will effect 
beyond all question, and I fear, that their expectations respecting 
the latter, will be but too fully answered. 24 

October 12. 
The Inclosed Copy of a Letter received last night from the 
Convention of this State, will shew you the apprehensions they 
are under, on account of the disaffected among them. I have 
ordered up a part of the Militia from the Massachusetts under 
General Lincoln, to prevent if Possible, the Consequences 

24 Col. Joseph Phillips, of the New Jersey Militia, wrote to Washington (on or about 
October 12) begging to be allowed to finish the battery he was erecting at Fort Wash- 
ington to help in such emergencies as this. Lieut. Col. Robert H. Harrison replied for 
the General (October 12), approving the request and complimenting Phillips upon 
his motives, which the Commander in Chief " would be happy to see prevail generally 
through the army." Phillips's letter is in the Washington Papers. 


which they suggest may happen, and which there is reason to 
believe the Conspirators have in Contemplation; I am per- 
suaded that they are upon the eve of breaking out, and that they 
will leave nothing unessayed that will distress us and favor the 
designs of the Enemy, as soon as their Schemes are ripe for it. 25 

October 13. 
Yesterday the Enemy landed at Frog's point about Nine 
Miles from hence further up the Sound. Their number we 
cannot ascertain, as they have not advanced from the point, 
which is a kind of Island, but the Water that surrounds it is 
fordable at low tide. I have ordered works to be thrown up at 
the passes from the point to the Main. From the great number 
of Sloops, Schooners and Nine Ships, that went up the Sound 
in the Evening full of Men, and from the information of two 
Deserters who came over last night, I have reason to believe, 
that the greatest part of their Army, has moved upwards, or is 
about to do it, pursuing their original plan of getting [with an 
intent (as I suppose) to get] in our rear and cutting off our com- 
munication with the Country. The grounds [leading] from 
Frogs point [to Kings Bridge,] are strong and defensible, being 
full of Stone fences, both along the road and across the adjacent 
Fields, which will render it difficult for Artillery, or indeed 
[for a] a large Body of foot to advance in any regular [way] 
order except through the main road. Our men who are posted 
on the passes seemed to be in good spirits when I left 'em last 
night. [When I left our people last night they seemed to be in 
good Spirits.] Iam&c. 26 

25 A copy of the letter of "October 10 from the New York Legislature is filed with 
Washington's letter in the Papers of the Continental Congress. 

In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. The portions in brackets show the 
form of the draft which Harrison altered in those minor particulars when he made 
the fair copy for Washington's signature. According to indorsement, this letter was 
read in Congress October 15. It is further indorsed: "nothing to be reported on 
this Letter." 



Haerlem Heights, October n, 1776. 

Dr. Sir: The Ships which have got up the River with their 
Tenders (and now two of our Row Galleys) must be well 
attended to, or they may undertake something against our 
Stores, Craft, or &ca. at Spiten devil, delay no time therefore in 
having some Work thrown up at the Mouth of that Creek for 
the defence of what lyes within, and to prevent Surprizes. 

A Small number of Troops Imbark'd on Long Island yester- 
day (behind Montrasors Island) and appeard to steer to the 
Eastward. How far they went I know not, they were Hessions 
and of those I saw not more than a hundred. It might not be 
amiss to inform Gen. Lincoln of this but in such a man'r as to 
occasion a good look out along the Sound without spreading 
an alarm. I am, etc. [ms.h.s.] 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 11, 1776. 

Sir: You are immediately to Inlist such of your Regiment or 
any other Troops raised in the province of Pennsylvania, as 
are able of Body and Willing to enter into the Service of the 
United States of America, upon the following Terms. 

1 st. You are not to inlist any but Freemen, able of Body and 
under the age of 50. Carefully avoiding all persons Labour- 
ing under any Lameness or other Defect of Body prejudicial to 
the Service. If any such persons or any Boys or decripid persons 
are brought into the Service, the Officer inlisting them will be 
chargeable with the Expence they may be to the publick. 

2dly. You are not to inlist any Deserters from the Army 
of the King of Great Britain, or persons of Disaffected and 



Suspicious Character, the American Service having already 
Suffered greatly by the Desertion of such persons. 

3dly. You are to inlist Men to serve during the Continuance 
of the present War, between Great Brittain and the States of 
America, unless sooner Discharged by proper Authority. 

4thly. The Men inlisted by you are to be Subject to the Rules 
and Articles for the Government of the Army published by 
Congress the 20th.Septemr. 1776. and are to sign those Articles. 

As an Encouragement to such persons as shall inlist in the 
above Service you are Authorized to engage besides the Pay 
and provisions now allowed. 

1st. Each Soldier shall receive 20 Dollars Bounty Money, on 
being approved by a Major General, a Brigadier General or 
Colo. Comdt., of a Brigade. 

Secondly. He shall also be entitled to 100 Acres of Land, at 
the expiration of his inlistment, and in case of his Death in the 
Service, his Representatives will be intitled thereto. 

When any person is inlisted, you are as soon as Convenient to 
take him to some person duly Authorized by the above Articles 
to take the Oath there prescribed. I am &c. 27 


Head Quarters, Heights of Harlem, 
October 11, 1776. 
Dear Sir: I this morning received your favour of the 7th. 
Instt. and am to inform you, that it is not in my power to supply 
you with a single Nail, nor are they to be procured in Philadel- 
phia, as Genl. Mifflin tells me, who has Just returned from 
thence. For want of them, we are building here, Huts of Sod 
Logs &c. to cover the Troops and which I am in hopes will 
make a tolerable good shift. 

27 The draft is in the writing of Joseph Reed; the copy in the "Letter Book," in that 
of John Fitzgerald, is corrected by Reed. 


Since my Letter of Yesterday, nothing has Occurred, and 
I have only to add that, I am &c. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 12, 1776. 

Sir: The situation of our affairs, and the approaching dissolu- 
tion of the present Army, calling for every possible exertion on 
our part to levy a New one; and presuming that your State are 
about to make an arrangement of Officers, for the quota of 
Troops they are to furnish, and that they may wish to know 
those belonging to them, who have served with reputation and 
bravery; I have thought it expedient, to obtain a return by such 
means as seemed most likely to be well founded. To this End, 
I have made inquiry, and the inclosed list which I have the 
honor to transmit you, comprehends the Names of those, who 
in public Estimation, and that of the Generals under whom 
they have more particularly acted, have behaved themselves 
well and to good acceptance; and whose past Conduct give a 
reasonable hope, that their future will render material services 
to their Country. 

The Advantages arising from a judicious appointment of 
Officers, and the fatal consequences that result from the want 
of them, are too obvious to require Arguments to prove them; 
I shall, therefore, beg leave to add only, that as the well doing, 
nay the very existence of every Army, to any profitable pur- 
poses, depend upon it, that too much regard cannot be had 
to the choosing of Men of Merit and such as are, not only under 
the influence of a warm attachment to their Country, but who 
also possess sentiments of principles of the strictest honor. Men 
of this Character, are fit for Office, and will use their best en- 
deavours to introduce that discipline and subordination, which 
are essential to good order, and inspire that Confidence in the 



Men, which alone can give success to the interesting and im- 
portant contest in which we are engaged. I would also beg 
leave to subjoin, that it appears to me absolutely necessary, that 
this business should have your earliest attention, that those, 
who are nominated, may employ their interest and influence, 
to recruit Men out of your Corps that are now here, without 
loss of time. 

In respect to the Officers that were in the Canada expedition, 
their behaviour and merit, and the severities they have experi- 
enced, entitle them to a particular notice, in my opinion. How- 
ever, as they are under their paroles, I would recommend that 
vacancies should be reserved, for such as you think fit to pro- 
mote, not wishing them to accept Commissions immediately, 
or to do the least Act, that may be interpreted a violation of 
their engagement. Their releasement, I hope, will be soon 
obtained, as I think them entitled to the first exchange, and 
which I have mentioned to Congress. 

I flatter myself, that the freedom I have taken, in the instances 
above, will have the indulgence and Pardon of your State, when 
I assure you, that the list, you will receive, is not intended to 
exclude Gentlemen of greater merit, or transmitted with other 
views, than to assist you, and of promoting the General good; 
and, also, that the measure has been recommended by a Com- 
mittee of Congress, who were pleased to honor me with a Visit. 
I have done the same to Governor Trumbull, at his particular 
request; and the Officers are making out a Return, to be laid 
before the Massachusetts Assembly, of the same Nature, so far 
as it concerns the Officers from their State. * * * 28 

I like to have omitted mentioning of a Pay master to each 
Regiment, who I perceive are not noticed in the list transmitted 
you. Congress by a late Resolution, have allowed such an 

28 The omitted paragraph repeats the news of the British ships sailing up the Hud- 
son, as given in Washington's letter to Congress, Oct. 8, 1776, q. v. 


Officer with Captain's pay and as their duty will be not only 
to receive the Regiment's Pay, but to keep Accounts of their 
Cloathing and every other incidental charge; I would beg leave 
to recommend, that attention should be had to their appoint- 
ment and that Persons may be nominated who are well versed 
in Accounts and who can keep them in a fair and proper Man- 
ner. I am led to advise this precaution to be used, because it will 
be an Office of a good deal of Consequence, and because in sev- 
eral Instances in the present Army, where the Appointments 
were made in Consequence of recommendations from the field 
Officers; Persons have been put in, who so far from being Ac- 
countants, and Answering the designs of Congress, can scarcely 
write their own names. 

October 13. 
Yesterday the Enemy landed at Frogs Point, * * * 29 and 
from the Situation of the Grounds, thro' which they must Pass, 
if they pursue their Plan, I would fain hope they will sustain 
considerable Loss, if not a repulse. I have the Honor etc. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 12, 1776. 

Parole . Countersign . 

The General orders, that one man from every Mess, be kept 
cooking, till there are provisions dressed for three days— The 
Butchers are also to keep killing. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 13, 1776. 

Parole . Countersign . 

The General expressly orders, that the men have four days 
provisions ready dressed, at all times, for which purpose the 

29 The omitted paragraph is a repetition of the last one in Washington's letter to 
Congress, Oct. n [12 and 13], 1776, q. v. 


Commissaries, or the Deputies, are to keep the Butchers con- 
stantly killing, till such supply is had, and one man from every 
Mess is to be kept cooking — The commanding Officers of Reg- 
iments, and others, are most earnestly requested to see this 
order carried into immediate execution. 

Supplies of Ammunition may now be had, so that any Officer 
who now neglects getting what is necessary, must be account- 
able to his Country, and the men under his command. 

When any Regiments are about to march, they are to have 
their Tents struck, rolled up, and a Guard under the Command 
of a careful Officer, to attend them, and the Baggage; who is 
not under any pretence to leave them, without orders. 

As the Enemy seem now to be endeavouring to strike some 
stroke, before the Close of the Campaign, the General most 
earnestly conjures, both Officers and Men, if they have any 
Love for their Country, and Concern for its Liberties; Regard 
to the safety of their Parents, Wives, Children and Country- 
men; that they will act with Bravery and Spirit, becoming the 
Cause in which they are engaged; And to encourage, and ani- 
mate them so to do, there is every Advantage of Ground and 
Situation, so that if we do not conquer, it must be our own 
fault — How much better will it be to die honorable, righting 
in the field, than to return home, covered with shame and dis- 
grace; even if the cruelty of the Enemy should allow you to 
return ? A brave and gallant behaviour for a few days, and pa- 
tience under some little hardships, may save our Country, and 
enable us to go into Winter Quarters with safety and honour. 30 

The marching of some troops to Kingsbridge, makes it nec- 
essary to reduce the Picquet to 600 Men, and the Fatigue 

30 On October 13, at noon, a meeting of general officers was called by the Commander 
in Chief, at Kings Bridge. Through Adjutant General Reed he requested General 
Heath to select the location and give his officers notice " with as little stir as possible." 



Head Quarters, October 13, 1776. 

Sir: Since I wrote you by Lieutt. Colo. Welch 31 upon the 
Subject of fixing on Quarters for your Troops, I have received 
from the Committee of Safety for this State, such an account 
of its alarming Situation, owing to the Number of disaffected, 
together with the little Confidence that can be placed on the 
Militia of some of the Counties, that I find it necessary to order 
a part of the New Hampshire Troops to their Assistance, and 
do therefore direct you to march your Regiment with all pos- 
sible dispatch to Fish Kills, where you will receive further di- 
rections from the Committee. I think it will be proper to send 
an Officer forward, to give the Committee notice of your com- 
ing, that they may assign you the places where it will be most 
suitable to post your men. I am &c. 

P. S. do not delay your march a moment, nor the sending an 
Officer to the Convention of this State now setting at the 
Fish Kills. 32 

81 Lieut. Col. Joseph Welch, of the New Hampshire Militia. 

82 On October 14 Robert Hanson Harrison wrote to the President of Congress, 
Washington having gone to visit the posts above Kings Bridge and the passes from 
Throgs Point: 

"Every day's intelligence from the Convention of this State, holds forth discoveries 
of new plots, and of new conspiracies. Some of the Members seem to apprehend, 
that insurrections are upon the Eve of breaking out, and have suggested the necessity 
of seizing and securing the passes thro' the Highlands, lest the disaffected should do 
it. Their preservation being a matter of the greatest importance, his Excellency, not- 
withstanding the situation we are in with respect to Troops, has detached Colo. Tash 
with his Regiment, lately from New Hampshire, in addition to the Militia mentioned 
in his last, with directions to receive Orders from the Convention as to the Station 
and posts he is to occupy. 

"There are now in our possession Several persons, Inhabitants of this State, who 
had engaged to join the Enemy, and who were intercepted in going to them; there 
are also two, who confess they have been with them and that they had actually en- 
gaged in their service; but finding the Terms, (the bounty, pay, &c.) not so advanta- 
geous as they expected from the information they had received, they were induced to 
return. As the Affairs of this Government are in a precarious situation, and such as 
the Convention themselves seem to think, forbid their interposition, farther than tak- 
ing measures to apprehend them, his Excellency would wish to obtain the sentiments 



Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 13, 1776. 

Sir: I have been favoured with your two Letters of the 3rd. 
and 6th. Instt. In answer to the first, I am not only willing but 
shall be much obliged by your Settling with the Gentlemen, to 
whom Money was advanced for purchasing Arms, and for 
which purpose, I have transmitted a List of the Warrants that 
were drawn in their favor. Before I left Cambridge, some of 
the Gentlemen, (three, four or more of them) accounted with 
me, but having sent away my Books, in which their Names 
and the ballances they paid in, were inclosed, sometime before 
the evacuation of New York, I cannot particularize them, and 
therefore have forwarded a List of the whole. 

In respect to the latter and the Invoice it contains, as the Arti- 
cles seem all to be necessary, and many of them are much wanted, 
I think you cannot do better, than to order them to be sent to 
the Quarter Master General for the use of the Army here. 

We are again deprived of the navigation of the North River, 
and the supplies which used to come thro' that Channel, by 
means of the Enemy's fleet, three of their Ships of War with three 
or four Tenders having passed our Batteries and Chiveaux de 
frize on the morning of the 9th * * * 33 They now lay at Tarry 
town, twenty five or thirty Miles above this. * * * I am etc. 34 

of Congress and their direction, upon a Subject so extremely critical and delicate, and 
which in the consideration of it, involves many important consequences." 

According to General Heath (Memoirs) : The nonarrival of the post was the reason 
for not writing Congress since October 12. On the 14th the officers reconnoitered the 
British at Throgs Neck. When Washington placed Lee in command above Kings 
Bridge he requested him not to exercise his authority for a day or two until he could 
make himself acquainted with the ground and the situation. 

33 The omitted portions recite the same information as to the ships and the British 
landing at Throgs Point as in Washington's letter to Congress, Oct. n [12 and 13], 
1776, q. v. 

34 The letter sent is in the possession of Judge E. A. Armstrong, of Princeton, N. J., 
to whose kindness the editor is indebted. It varies from the " Letter Book " copy only 
in capitalization. 



Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 14, 1776. 

Parole . Countersign . 

Col Bailey's 35 Regiment is immediately to join Genl. Clin- 
ton's Brigade, at present under the Command of Col Glover — 
Col Lippets Regt. is to join Genl. McDougall's Brigade — Each 
of these Regiments are to take their Tents and Cooking Uten- 
sils, and to lose no time — The two Connecticut Regiments, 
under the Command of Col. Storrs and Major Greaves, (not 
upon York Island) are to be in readiness to march into West- 
chester, at a moments warning. 

The Brigades which will then remain on the Island, will be 
in two Divisions; the first composed of Heard's, Beall's and 
Weedon's, 36 to be under the Command of Major Genl. Put- 
nam — The second consisting of Lord Sterling's, Wadsworth's, 
and Fellows's, to be under the Command of Major General 

Genl. Putnam will attend particularly to all the works, and 
necessary places of defence, from the Line which was intended 
to be run across from Head Quarters, inclusively up to, and 
including the Works upon, the Island above that place, as far 
as hath usually been considered as belonging to this division of 
the Army — He will also attend particularly to the Works about 
Mount Washington, and to the obstructions in the River, which 
should be increased as fast as possible. 

Genl. Spencer is to take charge of all the Works from Head 
Quarters, to our front lines, to the South; and attend particu- 
larly to all weak places; seeing they are secured as well as time, 

35 Col. John Bailey, of the Twenty-third Continental Infantry. 
38 Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Heard's New Jersey Militia, Brig. Gen. Rezin Beall's Mary- 
land Militia, and Col. George Weedon's Virginia brigade. 



and circumstances will permit: But as there may be more fa- 
tigue Men wanted in one division than the other, they are each 
to furnish for such Works as the Chief Engineer shall direct; 
seeing that the duty fall equally upon the officers and men of 
each division. 

A Report is immediately to be made, by the commanding 
Officers of Regiments, to their several Brigadiers, of the state of 
ready dress'd Provisions, that if there be any Neglect, or defi- 
ciency the one may be punished and the other rectified. 

The Court Martial of which Col Weedon was President is 
dissolved — A new one to be formed, Col Ewing to preside. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 15, 1776. 

Parole . Countersign . 

Col. Joseph Reed's 37 Regiment is to join Gen McDougall's 
Brigade and Col Hutchinson's (when the Work he is ordered 
to execute is finished, is to join Genl. Clinton's Brigade, at pres- 
ent under the Command of Col Glover. 

Sergeant's, Ward's and Chester's, 38 Regiments, and the Regi- 
ment commanded by Lieut. Col Storrs, are to form a Brigade 
and be under the Command of Col Sergeant. 

Col Storr's and the Regiment under Major Greaves, 39 are to 
march immediately into Westchester — The first to join the 
Brigade he is appointed to; the other to join the Regiments 
commanded by Cols. Douglass and Ely, 40 and with them be 
under the Command of Genl. Salstonstall; as Cols. Horse- 
ford's 41 and Major Rogers's Regiments are (but to remain 

37 Col. Joseph Read, of the Thirteenth Continental Infantry. 

38 Col. John Chester, of a Connecticut State regiment. 

39 Maj. Silvanus Graves, of the Seventh Connecticut Militia Regiment. 

40 Cols. John Douglas and John Ely, of the Connecticut Militia. 

"Col. Obediah Horseford, of the Connecticut Militia. 


where they at present are, 'till further orders) These five Regi- 
ments to compose Genl Salstonstall's brigade. 

The other two Connecticut Regiments, encamped upon Har- 
lem River, opposite Head Quarters, are for the present, from 
their situation, to be annexed to Genl. Parsons's Brigade, and 
be under his command. 

The Brigades are now to be formed into Divisions (Those 
on York Island as mentioned in Yesterday's Orders) Nixon's, 
McDougall's, and that commanded by Col Glover, to com- 
pose one, under the Command of Major Genl. Lee — Parsons's, 
Scott's, and Clinton's another, under the Command of Major 
Genl. Heath — Salstonstall's, Sergeant's and Hand's, another, 
under the Command of Major General Sullivan; and the Mas- 
sachusetts militia another, under the Command of Major Genl. 

The General in most pressing terms exhorts all Officers com- 
manding divisions, brigades and regiments &c. to have their 
Officers, and the Men, under their respective Commands, prop- 
erly informed of what is expected from them; that no Confu- 
sion may arise in case we should be suddenly called to Action, 
which there is no kind of doubt, is near at hand, and he hopes, 
and flatters himself, that the only contention will be, who shall 
render the most acceptable service to his Country, and his Pos- 
terity. The General also desires, that the Officers will be partic- 
ularly attentive to the men's Arms and Ammunition, that there 
may be no deficiency, or application for Cartridges, when we 
are called into the field. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 15, 1776. 
Sir: I was last night favored with your Letter of the 6th. 
Inst., with the return of Prisoners in your State, for which 
I thank you. It is properly made out. 


Every day's intelligence, from the Convention of this State, 
mentions Plots and Conspiracies, that are in Agitation among 
the disaffected. The inclosed Copy of a Letter, which I received 
yesterday from Robert R Livingston Esqr., one of the Mem- 
bers and who is of the Continental Congress, will shew you 
his Idea of the Situation of Affairs in this Government, and 
their apprehensions of insurrections. 42 The observations he has 
been pleased to favor me with, thro' the whole of this Letter, 
seem to me, to be too well founded; the movements of the 
Enemy; their having sent up some of their Ships in the North 
River; their landing a large proportion, if not the main Body 
of their Army on Frog's Point, (or rather Island, as it is sur- 
rounded by Water every Flood tide) Nine Miles above this on 
the Sound; added to these, the information of deserters, all 
afford a strong presumption, nay almost a certainty, that they 
are pursuing their Original Plan of getting in our rear and 
Cutting off all our supplies. Our situation here is not exactly 
the same as it was at New York; it is rather better. However, 
as we are obliged to divide our force, and guard every probable 
place of attack as well as we can — As most of our Stores are 
here and about Kingsbridge, and the preservation of the Com- 
munication with the States on the other side of Hudson's River, 
a Matter of great importance; it will not be possible for me to 
detach any more assistance, than what I have already done, for 
the purpose of securing the passes in the Highlands. I have 
sent Colo. Tash, lately from New Hampshire with his Regi- 
ment upon the Business, and as it is of the utmost consequence 
to possess those passes, and to hold them free and open, I would 
beg leave to submit to your consideration, whether you can 
spare any aid upon this interesting occasion. I know your exer- 
tions already are great; I know you have a large number of Men 

42 Livingston's letter, dated Oct. 12, 1776, is in the Washington Papers. In it he 
sketches out the danger of a British advance from the north and the need of a force in 
the Highlands. 


engaged in the Service, in this and the Northern Army; and 
nothing could have induced me to mention this Matter to you, 
were it not for the Alarming and melancholy consequences, 
which will result from the Enemy's possessing themselves of 
those Communications. The Regiment I have ordered up, are 
to receive directions from the Convention, as to the Posts they 
are to occupy; supposing them to be much better acquainted, 
with the Places, where they should be stationed, than I am. 
If it is in your Power to afford any Assistance in this Instance, 
you will be pleased to give such instructions to those you send, 
as you shall judge necessary. I am just dispatching an Engineer 
to the Convention, to throw up some small Works. I have 
the honor etc. 

P. S. I have sent Two Regiments of the Massachusetts Militia 
up the River to watch the Motions of the Ships and to oppose 
any landing of men that they may attempt. I am also extending 
every Part of my force that I possibly can, towards East and 
West Chester, to oppose the Enemy and prevent their effecting 
their Plan, if it shall be practicable; but our numbers being far 
inferior to the demands for men, I cannot Answer for what 
may happen, the most in my Power shall be done. 


Head Quarters, Heights of Harlem, 
October 16, 1776. 
Sir: I have been favored with your several Letters of the nth. 
and i3th.Instant with their Inclosures. The first that I received, 
would have been Answered sooner, had I been able to have 
furnished the necessary Intelligence respecting the Enemy's 
Ships of War, in the Sound above Hell Gate. This induced me 
to detain the Express a day, in expectation of gaining a more 



Certain information of this fact, than what had then come to 
my knowledge. By some deserters who came a shore from their 
Shipping at Frog's-Point yesterday, and who (from what 
I could discover on their examination) I think in this Instance 
are deserving of Credit; "I am acquainted that there are now 
between Hell Gate and Frog's Point five Ships of War; The 
Fowey of 24 Guns, The LeBrune of 32, The Carysfort of 28, 
The Niger of 32. and Halifax of 16, and that the Mercury and 
one other Ship are cruising off Block Island"; whether their 
Number may be augmented or diminished in a short time, is 
more than I can say; though I must observe, that the Enemy's 
Frigates of 28 Guns, (as we have found from experience) are 
not deterred from passing through Hell Gate. I would there- 
fore strongly advise, in case an attack on the Ships of War 
near Frog's Point, should be determined on, that Tenders or 
other small Craft should be sent a head, for the purpose of 
discovering with certainty the Number and Strength of the 
Enemy; who from the circumstances I have mentioned, may 
be easily reinforced. As to furnishing any Soldiers from this 
Army, towards Manning your Ships, it is what I am sorry 
under the present appearances of things, I cannot comply with, 
the Enemy being too powerful on this Quarter to admit of any 
diminution of the Troops who are to oppose them. For this 
reason also, I cannot afford any reinforcement to Colo. Liv- 
ingston, 43 to augment his detachment, from Twelve hundred 
to two thousand, which you think would be necessary; indeed, 
as we have received information, that the Enemy have been 
considerably reinforced by the arrival of Hessians; and as they 
have from Accounts, drawn almost their whole force to Frog's 
Point, I think it would be highly advisable (unless the expedi- 
tion to Long Island is in such forwardness, as to be carried into 

43 Col. Henry Beekman Livingston, of the Third New York Regiment. 


execution immediately), to send forward the two Massachu- 
setts regiments, who were detained for that particular Service; 
should it be determined to proceed to Long Island, I cannot 
interfere by any means in giving the Command to a younger 
officer. With respect to the Stores at Norwalk and the other 
Towns you have mentioned, I have ordered them from thence; 
thinking this method more eligible than to furnish Troops (of 
which we are in such want) for their defence. I did myself the 
pleasure of writing to you a few days ago, which I imagine you 
have received. I am etc. 

P. S. I have just received the examination of another deserter, 
who says he came away from the Dolphin (last Thursday) 
a Sixty Gun ship, in the Sound above Hell Gate, but this I am 
in doubt about; at any rate (I imagine) if it is true, it must be 
known to you by information of the Inhabitants living on 
the Sound. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 17, 1776. 

Sir: I have yours of the 15th. Instt. by Mr. Wallace, with an 
Account of the Expence incurred in cutting a Road from Coos 
to St. Johns, the amount £g^2..i6..^ l / 2 lawful Money. 44 There 
are some few Errors in casting out the different Articles, but 
they may be easily rectifyed when a Settlement is made. 

I have it not in my power to make objections to any part of 
the Account, as I cannot but suppose that it is all just and what 
has really been paid or agreed to be paid, but proper Vouchers 
should accompany all public Accounts, and these Mr. Wallace 
tells me you can furnish. The most Material is a Muster Roll 
of the Men employed, shewing the time of their Engagement 

"Bayley's letter and accounts, dated Oct. 15, 1776, are in the Washington Papers. 


for the Service and that of their Discharge. It is probable no 
Receipts may have been taken for some of the Articles, but you 
will please to furnish them for as many as you are able. I beg 
I may be clearly understood, I do not call for Vouchers, be- 
cause I Suspect you of charging more than is Justly due, but 
because it is necessary that they should accompany all pub- 
lic Accounts that pass thro' my Hands. When this is done the 
Accounts shall be adjusted and paid by, Sir, &c. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 17, 1776. 

Sir: On Monday last I was honored with your favor of the 
5th Instt. and beg leave to inform you, that the reasons which 
you assign for Countermanding Colo Richmond's 45 march ap- 
pear to me strong and Substantial. As to the expedition to 
long Island, it is impossible for me to give any direction about 
it, it must be governed by a Variety of Circumstances; nor 
will it be in my power, to appoint any Person to Command it; 
the situation of our affairs here, requiring the presence of every 
Officer of the least merit, for the government of this Army. 

In respect to your request, to have a list transmitted, of such 
Officers as have served to good acceptance; I am happy that 
I had anticipated your views and those of your Honble. Assem- 
bly in this instance, before the receipt of your favor, I wrote 
you fully on the subject in a Letter I had the Honor of ad- 
dressing you on the 12th, sending you a list of such Officers as 
were particularly recommended for the two Battalions you are 
to raise, to which I beg leave to refer you as it contains my Sen- 
timents at large. I have the honor etc. 

'Col. William Richmond, of the Rhode Island Militia. 



Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 17, 1776. 

Gentn.: Judging it a Matter of the utmost importance, to se- 
cure the passes thro' the Highlands, I have sent up Monsr. Im- 
bert 46 a French Gentleman, who has been placed in the Army, 
as an Engineer by Congress, in order to take your directions 
respecting the passes and such Works as you may Esteem nec- 
essary to preserve them, as the situation of affairs in this State 
is rather alarming, I would beg leave to recommend your earli- 
est attention to this Business, and that no time may elapse be- 
fore the Works are begun. I have no acquaintance with Monsr. 
Imbert, and his abilities in his profession remain to be proved; 
However, I trust under your care and advice, that whatever 
maybe essential will be immediately done. I have the Honor etc. 

P. S. I can spare no other Engineer, having but one besides. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 17, 1776. 

Parole . Countersign . 

There are a number of priming- Wires and Brushes in the 
Commissary's Store, near Genl. Spencer's Quarters, and at 
Kingsbridge; in the latter a number of Pouches, which are to 
be distributed among the Brigades. The Brigadiers are desired 
to send to those places, where they may receive priming-Wires 
and Brushes; the Pouches are to be divided, and each Brigadier 
is to send for his proportion, as soon as possible and have them 
filled with spare Cartridges. 

As the Movements of the Enemy make an Alteration of our 
position necessary, 47 and some Regiments are to move towards 

46 Capt. Jean Louis Imbert, who was commissioned by Congress September 19. He 

returned to San Domingo in April, 1777. 
<T On October 17 Robert Hanson Harrison wrote to the President of Congress: 
"I am directed by his Excellency to acquaint you, that we are again obliged to 

change our disposition to counteract the Operations of the Enemy, declining an 


them, the commanding and the other Officers of Regiments, 
are to see the following Orders punctually executed. — The 
Tents are to be struck, and carefully rolled, the men to take 
the Tent poles in their hands — two Men out of a Company with 
a careful Subaltern, to go with the Baggage, and not leave it on 
any pretence — No Packs (unless of Sick Men) Chairs, Tables, 
Benches or heavy lumber, to be put on the Waggons — No per- 
son, unless unable to walk, is to presume to get upon them — 
The Waggons to move forward before the Regiments, the 
Quarter-Master having first informed himself from the Briga- 
dier, or Brigade Major, where they are to pitch — Every Regi- 
ment under marching orders, to see they have their Flints and 
Ammunition in good order and complete. 

Lieut. Nevins 48 of Col Tylers Regiment is to do the duty of 
Captain, in the room of Major Chipman 49 lately promoted. 

Daniel Lyman Esqr. is appointed Major of Brigade to Genl. 
Fellows, and is to be respected accordingly. 

A General Court Martial whereof Col Ewing was President, 
having convicted Lieut. Pope 50 of the Rangers, of the scandal- 
ous Crime of "Conniving at plundering — contrary to frequent 
and express orders," and sentenced him to be cashiered; The 
General approves the sentence, and he is accordingly cashiered. 
The same Court having convicted Corporal Geo. Wilson 51 of 

Attack upon our Front, they have drawn the main body of their Army to Frogs point 
with a design of Hemming us in, and drawing a line in our Rear. To prevent the con- 
sequences which would but too probably follow the execution of their Scheme, the 
General Officers determined yesterday that our forces must be taken from hence, and 
extended towards East and West Chester so as to out flank them. Genl. Lee who ar- 
rived on Monday, has strongly urged the absolute necessity of the measure. It is pro- 
posed to leave a Garrison at Fort Washington, and to Maintain it if possible, in order 
to preserve the communication with the Jerseys. They are landing their Artillery and 
Waggons upon die point, and there are now several boats passing up the Sound full 
of Men." 

48 Lieut. David Nevins, of the Tenth Continental Infantry. 

49 Maj. James Chapman, of the Tenth Continental Infantry. 

50 Lieut. Jacob Pope, of the Twenty-first Continental Infantry. He was doing duty 
as a ranger at this time. 

61 Corp. George Wilson, of the Rangers. 


"plundering Mr. Bushey's House at Harlem" — and sentenced 
him to receive 39 Lashes — The General approves the Sentence, 
and orders it to be executed to morrow on the parade, before 
the Guards march off — The Provost Marshal to see it done. 

Col Weedon's and Col Reed's Regiments to join Lord 
Stirling's Brigade immediately. 

Major Parker 52 of Genl Heard's Brigade to attend the Works, 
and be excused other duty. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 18, 1776. 

Parole Stamford. Countersign France. 

As the Brigades of the Army now move at such distance from 
each other, that a punctual attendance, at Head-Quarters, for 
Orders, cannot be expected — One Brigade Major from each 
Major General's division, is to attend, as early in the day as he 
can — the several Brigade Majors, or Adjutants who act as such, 
are to attend him at a stated hour, and then distribute the 
Orders through the several Brigades, and Regiments, as fast 
as possible. 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 18, 1776. 

Sir: I was yesterday Morning honoured with your favor of 
the 15th. with the Resolutions of the nth and 14th; the 
latter by which Congress have authorized me to appoint 
Monsr. Pennet a Brevet Aid de Camp, claims a return of my 

Last night I received a Letter from Mr. Varick 53 Secretary to 
Genl. Schuyler, inclosing a Copy of one from Genl Arnold 

62 Maj. Samuel Franklin Parker, of the New Jersey Militia. 
53 Richard Varick. 


to Genl. Gates. The Intelligence transmitted by Genl Ar- 
nold being of an extremely interesting and important nature, 
I thought it advisable to forward the same immediately by 
Express. You have a Copy herewith, which contains the par- 
ticulars and to which I beg leave to refer you. 

The Accounts transmitted yesterday by Post, will inform you 
of the Movements of the Enemy, and of the Measures judged 
necessary to be pursued by us to counteract their designs. 
I have nothing to add on this Head, except that Ten or Eleven 
Ships which have been prevented passing Hell Gate for two or 
three days for want of Wind, are now under way and proceed- 
ing up the Sound. Amongst them appear to be Two Frigates, 
the rest probably have in Stores &c. 

Inclosed is a Copy of the last General Return 54 1 have been 
able to obtain. It only comes down to the 5th Inst. The situa- 
tion of our Affairs and the almost constant necessity of sending 
detachments from one place to another, to watch the Enemy's 
Motions have prevented the Officers from making them with 
regularity. Ihave&c. 55 


Head Quarters, Kingsbridge, October 20, 1776. 
Sir: This is designed to inform you of our alarming situation 
on account of the State of our provisions. From the last Intelli- 
gence I have been able to obtain, there are not more than Fif- 
teen hundred Barrels of Flour here and at our posts on the 
Island of New York (including three Hundred that came from 
the Jerseys last night) and about Two Hundred Barrels of 
pork, nor do I learn, that there are many or but very few live 

M This return is printed in Force's American Archives, Fifth Series, vol. 2, 907-910. 
It shows a rank and file strength of 14,145 present fit for duty, not counting the 
Artillery Corps and the Connecticut and Rhode Island Militia. 

5o In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 


Cattle collected at any place within the Neighbourhood. As 
the passage across the North River is precarious, and much, if 
not intirely in the Enemy's power, but little or no dependance 
should be had in Supplies from that Quarter. I must therefore 
request and entreat your every possible exertion to have large 
Quantities of provisions carried to the interior parts of the 
Country, with the utmost expedition, out of the reach of 
the Enemy, who are trying to penetrate from the Sound and to 
form a line in our Rear, 56 from whence proper supplies may be 
immediately drawn for the Subsistence of our Troops. If this 
is not done, I fear, I am certain that the fatal consequences 
attending on Mutiny and plunder must ensue; indeed the latter, 
will be Authorized by Necessity. I cannot undertake to point 
out the particular places where stock should be drove to, But 
it is absolutely Necessary that large Quantities should be kept 
in our Rear, to be killed or moved, as occasion may require. If 
the Enemy advance from the Sound, so must we. They must 
never be allowed, if it is possible to avoid it, to get above us, and 
possess themselves of the upper Country. As soon as I heard 
that they had landed at Frogs point, and that they had digested 
a plan of getting into our Rear, I gave Orders that the provi- 
sions and other Stores should be removed from Norwalk &c. 

58 At half past i on the afternoon of October 20 Robert Hanson Harrison wrote to 
Congress: "The Enemy are pursuing with great Industry their plan of penetrating 
the Country from the Sound, and of forming a Line in our Rear. They are now ex- 
tended from Frog's Point to New Rochelle, from whence it is generally conjectured 
they mean to take their Route by way of the White Plains, and from thence to draw a 
Line to the North River. We on our part, have drawn our whole force, except the 
Regiments intended to Garrison Fort Washington, from the Island of New York, and 
have possessed ourselves of the Heights, passes and advantageous Grounds between 
New Rochelle, where the Van of their Army now lies, and the North River. They will 
in all probability attempt to effect their purpose by moving higher up, if they do, our 
Forces will move accordingly, it being a principal object to prevent their out flanking 
us. On Friday One of their advanced parties near East Chester fell in with part of 
Colo. Glover's Brigade and a smart and close Skirmish ensued, in which I have the 
pleasure to inform you our Men behaved with great coolness and Intrepidity and 
drove the Enemy back to their main body." 


into the Country, to the White Plains as the first and most con- 
venient Stage : Whither they have, I have no certain information. 
In short Sir, I beg that you will have supplies immediately in 
our Rear, to be drawn or moved back, as Circumstances may 
be, or the most fatal and alarming consequences to this Army, 
and the Liberties of America may and will in all probability 
follow. You must not stop on Account of expence, nor to col- 
lect large Quantities before they are sent off. Ten in a drove 
will be of material consequence. 

I have ordered a respectable force for the protection of the 
provisions now at the plains. I am &c. 


White Plains, October 21, 1776. 

Sir: I wrote to you a few days ago, desiring, if you did not 
find Matters ready for the Expedition to Long Island, that you 
would move forward with the two Massachusetts Regiments 
under your Command. 57 I have further reason to repeat my 
Orders to you on that Head. The Enemy are advancing by par- 
ties from their main Body which now lays at New Rochelle 
and taken possession of the Posts upon the Sound with design 
to cut off our Supplies from the Eastward by Water. They ad- 
vanced early this Morning to Mamaroneck, which our people 
Shamefully abandonned at their Approach, not for want of 
Numbers, but want of a good Officer to lead on the Men. 

I therefore again desire, that, if Matters are not ready for your 
intended Expedition, you would lay it aside for the present and 
march immediately with the two Regiments under your 

"Mcintosh, who was a colonel of Massachusetts Militia from 1776 to 1782, was 
then stationed at Fairfield, Conn. 


Command towards Byram River, and also desire Lieut. Colo. 
Livingston to come forward with the Companies which he has 
under his Command. When you arrive at Byram River, you 
will send an Express forward to Brigr. Genl. Lord Stirling 
who Commands here, and he will give you Orders how to dis- 
pose of the Men under your Command. I am &c. 58 


White Plains, October 21, 1776. 

Dear Sir: I wrote you yesterday expressive of my apprehen- 
sions on Acct. of Provision's for this Army, I came to this place 
just now in order to enquire further into the state of this Arti- 
cle, and to look a little into the Situation, and nature of the 
Country. I have no reason either from Information, or obser- 
vation, to alter my opinion of yesterday; and therefore, again 
and again entreat your every exertion to supply these Troops 
in time with Flour and Beef for present use; to do this much 
Land Carriage will become unavoidable, of course no time [is 
to be] lost to provide a Number of Teams. Besides the Supplies 
necessary for immediate use, it is absolutely necessary for Mag- 
azines to be laid up in secure places removed from the Water, 
in Connecticut, and at such others as were mention'd in my 
last and Circumstances may direct. 

The Enemy mean (from prest. appearances) either to get 
round us, or to Coast it along upon the Sound in order to de- 
stroy our Provisions and Stores; to prevent the first I am ex- 
tending my line along as they do; to guard as much as possible 
against the Second, I have ordered the Officers in their several 
departments to remove as fast as possible all Continental prop- 
erty from the Water; but the want of Teams is a most dreadful 
misfortune. I shall only add, that as soon as you can put matters 

68 The draft is in the writing of Tench Tilghman. 


into a proper train in the Country, your presence at Camp will 
be much wanted, and that I am, etc. Cc. s.l.] 


White Plains, October 21, 1776. 

Sir: You are hereby requested to make the best stand you 
can, with the troops under your command, against the enemy, 
who, I am informed, are advanced this morning to Maroneck; 
and I will, as soon as possible, order a party to attack them in 
flank, of which you will be further informed in proper time. 
Be cautious of mentioning design. I am, etc. 

Be pleased to send the enclosed by a faithful officer, to be 
communicated to all the troops on road through Connecticut. 60 


Head Quarters, Harlem Heights, October 21, 1776. 

Parole Heath. Countersign Sullivan. 

The hurried situation of the General for the two last days, 
having prevented him from paying that attention to Col Glover, 
and the officers and soldiers who were with him in the Skir- 
mish on Friday last, that their merit and good behaviour de- 
served — He flatters himself that his thanks, tho' delayed, will 
nevertheless be acceptable to them, as they are offered with 
great sincerity and cordiality — At the same time he hopes, that 
every other part of the Army will do their duty, with equal 
duty and zeal whenever called upon; and that neither dangers, 
difficulties, or hardships will discourage Soldiers, engaged in 
the Cause of Liberty, and contending for all that Freemen hold 
dear and valuable. 

58 Of the New York Militia. 

80 The text is from Force's American Archives. 



[Valentine's Hill], October 22, 1776. 

Wrote Govr. Trumbull to Order the Troops intended for 
Fish Kills, to come by the Rear of Our Army at or near White 
Plains, to take Orders. 

That Genl. Clinton can't be spared and advisg. the long 
Island expedition to be given over if the Troops are not on the 
very point of embarking and that they should be moved this 
way as they may be of material service in flankg. the Enemy 
and the situation of our Affairs callg. for every assistance. 62 


Head Quarters, at Mr. Valentine's, October 22, 1776. 

Madam: The Misfortunes of War, and the unhappy circum- 
stances frequently attendant thereon to Individuals, are more 
to be lamented than avoided; but it is the duty of every one, to 
alleviate these as much as possible. Far be it from me then, 
to add to the distresses of a Lady, who, I am but too sensible, 
must already have suffered much uneasiness, if not inconven- 
ience, on account of Colonel Philips's absence. 

No special Order has gone forth from me, for removal of 
the stock of the Inhabitants; but, from the nature of the Case, 
and in consequence of some Resolutions of the Convention of 
this State, the measure has been adopted: However, as I am 

"This memorandum, in Robert Hanson Harrison's writing, is entered on a letter 
dated Oct. 21, 1776, from Governor Trumbull to Washington. 

62 An example of the unnecessary difficulties inflicted on the Commander in Chief 
at this time is found in the letters of October 12 and 15 from the Board of War, which, 
among other things, requested an immediate return of the ordnance stores. Wash- 
ington delegated Robert Hanson Harrison to reply, who explained (October 22) that 
the unsettled state of the Army rendered it impossible to furnish such a return and 
suggested that the Board establish magazines of ammunition and ordnance stores 
from which supplies could be drawn. "As large quantities are constantly in demand 
in time of war, he [Washington] does not conceive Your provision in these instances 
can be too great." 


satisfied it is not meant to deprive Families of their necessary 
support, I shall not withhold my consent to your retaining such 
parts of your Stock as may be essential to this purpose; relying 
on your assurances and promise that no more will be detained; 
With great Respect, I am, Madam, etc. 


Head Quarters, Valentines Hill, October 22, 1776. 
Dear Sir: From my remote Situation, and my Ignorance of 
the Country in which the Army, under your Command to the 
Northward, is to act, it is impossible for me to give my per- 
emptory Orders, or Scarcely my Opinion, as to the direction 
of Matters in your Quarter. I am confident your own good 
sense, Zeal and Activity will Suggest to you, the most probable 
means of making amends for the heavy Loss we have sustained 
by the Destruction of Genl. Arnold's Fleet upon Lake Cham- 
plain; 83 but my Experience of the many Evils attending the 
calling in a considerable Body of raw Militia obliges me to give 
you my Sentiments upon that Head and to tell you, that I fear 
they will render you more dis-service than any real Good. From 
their want of every Camp necessary when they Join a regular 
Army, they commit an intolerable waste of Stores, which once 
put into their Hands can scarcely be ever regained, and are so 
much dead Loss to the public; and for want of Regularity in 
their drafts of Ammunition, Provision and other Necessaries 

63 Nine small vessels had been built at Skenesborough, mounting 55 guns in all, and 
Benedict Arnold with a few galleys from Ticonderoga posted this force at the foot of 
Lake Champlain. Carleton moved against him with 38 vessels, mounting 123 guns, 
and Arnold fell back to Valcours Island. He was attacked (October 11) and put up 
a desperate resistance from the forenoon until dark. Under cover of darkness and a 
fog he managed to slip away from the British, but his shipping, badly battered, was 
overtaken (October 13) near Split Rock. After a running fight of four hours Arnold 
beached his remaining vessels and, leaving their flags still flying, set them afire. He 
escaped with his crews, through the woods, to Ticonderoga. When the British ap- 
peared off that fort, Gates succeeded in a display of force and Carleton fell back to 
Crown Point and shortly returned to Canada to escape the rigorous winter season. 


they consume much more than is convenient to spare from a 
Garrison near a source of Supplies, much less from one at such 
a Distance, that it requires every Exertion to keep up the Maga- 
zines at the best of Times. 

I have been informed that Ticonderoga properly Garrisoned 
and Supplied with provision and Ammunition, is almost 
impregnable, even at a Season of the Year when an Army can lay 
before it with the greatest Conveniency, if so, instead of calling 
up a Number of useless Hands and Mouths (for such I deem 
Militia in general) I would advise a Collection of as much 
provision as could possibly be got together, which if sufficient 
for Nine Thousand effective Men, of which your Army con- 
sisted by Genl. Arnolds Letter, I should imagine you could 
keep Burgoyne and Carleton at Bay, till the Rigour of the Sea- 
son would oblige them to raise the Seige, not only for want of 
Conveniencies to lay in Field, but for fear the freezing of the 
Lake should make their return impracticable, in case of Acci- 
dent. I would recommend the removal of Carriages and draft 
Cattle of all kinds from the Country adjacent, that if they 
should attempt to Slip by Ticonderoga, by any other Rout, and 
come down upon the Settlements, that plan should be rendered 
abortive, for want of means of Conveyance for their Baggage 
and Stores. I am unacquainted with the extent of your works and 
consequently of the Number of Men necessary to man them. 
If your present Numbers should be insufficient for that pur- 
pose, I would then by all means advise your making up the 
Deficiency out of the best regulated Militia that could be got. 
Some might likewise be useful in bringing up Supplies and fill 
the Places of Men who would render more Service with Arms 
in their hands. You will always be kind enough to bear in mind, 
that I am giving my Opinion not issuing my Orders. The Vexa- 
tion I have experienced from the Humours and intolerable 


Caprice of Militia, at a critical time, makes me feel sensibly for 
the Officer who is to depend upon them in the day of Trial. 64 
Upon the whole, I beg you may not be influenced by any thing 
I have thrown out, you have had Experience of the Temper of 
the people who will probably march to your Assistance and 
therefore know whether they differ in Character from those 
who have reinforced the Army under my Command. 

In full Confidence that you will do what seems best to your 
Judgement, I submit the Matter intirely to you; only esteeming 
Myself happy if any hints of mine should be Serviceable to 
you. I am &c. 


Head Quarters, White Plains, October 23, 1776. 

Parole Denton. Countersign Chester. 

The Guards of the Camp are to be mounted from the several 
divisions of the Army — their Numbers to be fixed, and their 
Posts assigned them, by the General Officers of that division — 
General Spencer's division to furnish the Main Guard, Quarter 
Master General's and Commissary General's Guard; Bullock 
Guard and Provost Guard. 

It has been observed with some Concern, that scouting par- 
ties go out without any advanced, or flanking parties, both 
which are absolutely necessary for their safety and success, 
and which they must have on all occasions. 

The commanding Officers of Regiments should, on all 
Marches, draw provisions for the Waggoners, who attend them, 
and give them all possible assistance — When their baggage is 
unloaded, they should have the Teams drawn up, set a Guard 

"The draft of this letter, in the writing of Tench Tilghman, contains at this point 
the following, which has been crossed out and did not appear in the letter sent: "I am 
confident whatever you do will be with a View of Serving the Cause in which we 
have ventured our Lives and Fortunes and if the Event is unfavourable, you will 
have the Consolation of feeling." 


over them, and prevent any loss of the Horses, or abuse of the 
Drivers, and take care of them 'till they are ordered away. 

Any officer, or soldier, who shall presume to meddle with 
any Horses, belonging to the public, or any other not his own 
property will be severely punished. And all officers of the 
army are requested to stop soldiers, who are riding about with- 
out Saddles, until they give an Account of themselves; and 
if they are found breaking Orders, to send the offender to the 
Guard, and the horse to the Quarter Master General, or to 


Head Quarters, White Plains, October 24, 1776. 

Parole . Countersign . 

Commanding Officers of regiments are immediately to have 
Necessaries dug, decently covered, at a small distance from 
their Encampments — They are every day to be covered over 
with fresh earth, and once a week to be filled up and new ones 
dug — All bones, meat and other dirt of the Camp, to be care- 
fully gathered up every day — Those Regiments who have not 
appointed Camp-Cauleur-Men, 65 are to do it immediately, and 
it is the duty of the Quarter-Master to see that they do their 
duty. Two men from every Company to be appointed. If offi- 
cers would reflect how much cleanliness would conduce to 
their own health, and that of their men, they would want no 
inducement to attend to it particularly. 

The Brigade Majors of Genl. Spencer's division, are imme- 
diately to form a Court Martial — A Colonel to preside. 

Genl. Sullivan's division to furnish its proportion of the de- 
tail made yesterday, for home guards. 

Rolls are to be called three times every day, and the General 
begs the officers to exert themselves, to keep their men from 

Camp-Coulour-Men were the camp police. 

1776] WAGONS 227 

straggling away from the Camp — Officers and men would do 
well to reflect that their safety, their lives, and the liberty of 
their Country may depend on their being at hand, in case of an 
Alarm — Any Man who is found half a mile from the Camp, 
not on Command, will be punished very severely. 

All the officers who have assisted in the Works to meet at 
Col Putnam's Quarters, just above Head-Quarters, at 3 O'clock 
this afternoon, in order to lay out a number of works. The 
Engineers are to proportion the entrenching tools at this place, 
among the several Grand Divisions, and after to day to apply 
to each General commanding such division, for such numbers 
of men, as may be wanted for the several works, who are to 
begin to work at 9 O'clock in the morning, and continue work- 
ing till four in the afternoon. 

Brigade Majors are to have their Returns completed 

General Heath's and General Sullivan's divisions, not having 
complied with yesterday's Orders, to furnish 30 Men; they are to 
do it to morrow without fail, and to be more careful in future. 66 

It being absolutely necessary, that the Teams should be col- 
lected, in order to be arranged by the Quarter-Master General; 
The commanding Officers of regiments are immediately to send 
to the parade, at the Court-house, every team, not under an 
actual Order to march : No officer to take any Team for any use, 
without an Order from Head Quarters, or the Quarter Master 
General — The commanding Officers of brigades and regi- 
ments, who at any time may be supplied with Teams, are to 
take particular Care, that the Drivers of Waggons in their em- 
ploy are regularly supplied with Grain and Hay for their Horses, 
if such Provender can be obtain'd in the Neighbourhood of 
their respective Camps. If the Owners of such Provender refuse 

66 See first paragraph of General Orders, Oct. 23, 1776, ante. 


to sell, such commanding Officers are to order their Quar- 
ter Masters, to collect as much Provender as will be necessary 
for the public horses, in their service, and give Certificates to 
the Owners of the Provender, of what the Quarter Masters 
may receive, or take. 


Head Quarters, White Plains, October 25, iyy6. 67 

Parole . Countersign . 

The Guards are to be continued as settled the last evening, 
'till further Orders, and the Brigade Majors to be very careful 
that the Guards are properly relieved. 

The General most earnestly recommends to all commanding 
Officers of Brigades, and Regiments, to extend their care to the 
Waggons which they have, or may employ, and to dismiss 
them as soon as they have brought their baggage, and have 
been refreshed. 

6T On this date Robert Hanson Harrison wrote to Congress from headquarters 
of the withdrawal of the army to its new position, leaving 1,400 men at Mount 
Washington and 600 at Kings Bridge. A surprise of the British was attempted by a 
detachment under Col. John Haslet, of the Delaware Regiment, which only partially 
succeeded. Maj. John Green, of the First Virginia Regiment, was badly wounded. 
A few days later a party of Col. Edward Hand's Pennsylvania rifle regiment routed 
an equal force of Hessians with the loss of only one man. "Experiment having proved 
it difficult, if not impossible, to prevent the Enemy from possessing the navigation of 
the North River and rendering the Communication and Intercourse between the States 
divided by it, extremely hazardous and precarious by means of their Ships of War, It 
has become a matter of important consideration how to remedy the evil and to guard 
against the consequences which may result from it. I am charged by his Excellency 
to mention it to Congress, as a matter that has employed much of his thought, and 
that seems worthy of their most serious attention. He has communicated it to several 
of the General and other Officers, and to many Gentlemen of sense and discernment, 
who all agree with him, not only upon the propriety, but the absolute necessity, that 
Two distinct Armies should be formed, the One to act particularly in the States which 
lay on the East, the other in those that are on the South of the River. The whole, how- 
ever, to be raised on a General plan, and not to be confined to any particular place by 
the Terms of Enlistment. These matters, the apparent difficulty and perhaps im- 
practicability of succours being thrown across the River, while the Enemy can com- 
mand it, have induced his Excellency to submit the measure to their consideration, 
not knowing how their Operations may be directed, and foreseeing that innumerable 
evils may arise if a respectable force is not appointed to oppose their Arms whereso- 
ever they are carried." This letter is in the Washington Papers. 



Head Quarters, White Plains, October 26, 1776. 

Parole . Countersign . 

Capt. Ebenezer Huntington 68 is to assist the Adjutant Gen- 
eral in regulating the duties, and details of Genl Heath's 
division, 'till further orders. 

An Aide-De-Camp from each Major General is to attend at 
Head Quarters, at twelve o'clock, every day, to receive the Gen- 
eral Orders — he is to see that the Brigade Majors execute them 
in the division. 

An Orderly Serjeant from each Brigade, of General Spencers 
division, to attend at Head-Quarters every day, to bring his 
provision with him, and not to go away 'till regularly relieved. 
Upon the due regulation and management of the Waggons, 
the health and safety of the Army entirely depends, and it will 
be impossible for the Quarter-Master-General to have any regu- 
larity, if officers of the Army undertake to seize Waggons, and 
compel them to go where they please — The General therefore 
absolutely forbids any Officer, or Soldier, taking a Waggon by 
his own authority, and more especially stopping them, when 
sent on other services, as it is easy to see that the greatest confu- 
sion must in that case ensue — When teams are wanted, appli- 
cation must be made to the Quarter-Master-General, or his 
Deputy, and every Brigade, or Regiment, must wait 'till the 
service admits their having them in that channel. — The com- 
manding Officers of Regiments are also required to appoint 
some spirited, resolute officer, to attend the loading of the 
Waggons, and prevent their being filled with lumber and im- 
proper articles: Tents, and the proper Baggage of the Regiment, 

68 Of the Twenty-second Continental Infantry. He rose by successive promotions 
to lieutenant colonel of Webb's Additional Continental regiment, Third and First 
Connecticut Regiments. 


are only to be put into the Waggons; all others must be left 
behind; And the General calls upon the General Officers, and 
commanding Officers of Regiments, to set an example to 
the soldiers. 


Head Quarters, White-Plains, October 27, 1776. 

Parole . Countersign . 

Lieut: Sickles 69 of Genl. Scott's Brigade, tried by a Court 
Martial whereof Col Holman was President, and convicted of 
"disobeying General Orders,by loading aWaggon with Goods, 
not the proper baggage of the regiment; and also whencharged 
therewith of behaving in a scandalous, infamous manner, un- 
becoming an officer and the Gentleman " — The Court sentenced 
him to be cashiered — The General approves the sentence, and 
orders him to be dismissed the service — He also directs that he 
leave the Army immediately. 

The General observing that the Army seems unacquainted 
with the Enemy's Horse; and that when any parties meet with 
them, they do not oppose them with the same Alacrity which 
they shew in other cases; thinks it necessary to inform the 
officers and soldiers, that, in such a broken Country, full of 
Stone-Walls, there is no Enemy more to be despised, as they 
cannot leave the road; So that any party attacking them may 
be always sure of doing it to advantage, by taking post in the 
Woods by the Roads, or along the stone-walls, where they will 
not venture to follow them; And as an encouragement to any 
brave parties, who will endeavour to surprise some of them, 
the General offers 100 Dollars, for every Trooper, with his 
Horse and Accoutrements, which shall be brought in, and so 

89 Lieut. Ethan Sickles, of Lasher's New York militia. 



in proportion for any part, to be divided according to the Rank 
and pay of the party. 

The Picquet Guard to be reinforced this evening with a regi- 
ment from each division; they are to parade at 5 O'clock this 
evening near Head-Quarters; the eldest Colonel to command 
the whole, and to come to Head-Quarters for Orders before 
they march off. 

The constant beating of Drums on all occasions is very im- 
proper — there should be no Drum but on the parade, and Main 
Guard — All fatigue parties to march with the Fife, and no 
Drum to beat, on any account, after Retreat-Beating, but by 
special order. 

John Cawley and Michael McDaniel of Col Hazletts Regi- 
ment, tried by the Court Martial whereof Col Holman was 
President, for "Robbing Isaiah Rider" — are both acquitted — 
The General approves the Sentence, and orders them to be 

James Daniel of Capt. Horton's 70 Company, Col Ritzema's 
Regiment, convicted by the same Court Martial, is ordered to 
receive 39 Lashes — forfeit, two month's pay — The General ap- 
proves the Sentence, and orders it to be executed at the usual 
time and place. 

William Turner and Daniel Shute are appointed Aids-De- 
Camp to Genl. Lincoln, and are to be obeyed and respected 

The Court of Enquiry on Col Tyler; having reported that 
there is no sufficient reason for the appointment of a Court 
Martial on his conduct. The General orders him to be released 
from his arrest. 

Regimental Courts Martial to be formed immediately, for the 
trial of prisoners charged with Crimes under their cognizance. 

70 Capt. Ambrose(?) Horton. 



Head-Quarters, White-Plains, October 29, 1776. 71 

Parole . Countersign . 

John Eustace Esqr. 72 appointed Aide-De-Camp to General 
Lee; and Adjt. Bradford 73 of Col. Hitchcock's Regt. is ap- 
pointed temporary Aide-De-Camp. 

The representation made of Col Webb's Regiment yester- 
day by Genl. McDougall, appearing to be a mistake, and that 
they kept the post assigned them, notwithstanding a severe 
Cannonade; The General takes the first opportunity to make 
it known, to prevent any unfavorable impression. 

Until the Guards are otherwise fixed, every division is to 
mount Guard opposite to their posts, according to the situa- 
tion of the ground. 

Alexander Scammell Esqr. 74 appointed Assistant to the Ad- 
jutant General for General Lee's division. 


Head-Quarters, White-Plains, October 30, 1776. 

Parole . Countersign . 

The frequent, indeed constant complaints of the men, for 
want of provisions upon any Move, which is necessary for them 
to make, induces the General once more to desire, the com- 
manding Officers of Regts. and Corps, to see that they are never 
without three day's provisions ready dress'd by them. 

"On this date Robert Hanson Harrison wrote to Congress a brief account of the 
engagement at Chatterton's Hill (October 28), which was lost through the panic of 
the militia. This letter the Washington Papers. Harrison's letters of October 25 
and 29 are printed in the Appendix to volume 4 of Sparks's Writings of Washington. 

"John Skey Eustace. He resigned in 1780. 

73 Adjt. William Bradford, of the Eleventh Continental Infantry, temporary aide to 
Lee. He became major of Tallman's Rhode Island Militia regiment in December, 
1776, and major of Sherburne's Additional Connecticut regiment in January, 1777; 
retired in January, 1781. 

74 Later Adjutant General of the Continental Army; killed at Yorktown, Va. 


All Detachments and Parties are to parade, wherever ordered, 
with their Packs and Provisions, that they may be ready for 
any Service they are ordered upon. 

It is strictly enjoined upon all officers, to disengage them- 
selves of heavy and cumbrous baggage, as the difficulty of pro- 
curing Teams, for transportation of necessary baggage, and 
stores, which necessarily occasions all heavy Boxes, Chests &c. 
to be thrown away; — 

The General insists upon having the Rolls regularly called, 
that the officers may account for, and know where the men 
are, who are always to be ready to turn out upon any Alarm; 
when Waiters are always to appear under Arms. Upon any 
Alarm, the Drums are to beat through the whole lines, To 
Arms, as quick as possible, and continue beating 'till the whole 
line is formed. 

The Out-Guard to examine all persons riding into Camp 
without Arms, and turn any back who are not known, or can- 
not give sufficient reasons for their coming into camp. 

The Brigade Majors immediately to settle a General Court 
Martial — No Member under the Rank of Captain — A Briga- 
dier to preside. 


Head Quarters, White-Plains, October 31, 1776. 

Parole . Countersign . 

The General positively forbids any person going down to the 
lines, and firing upon the Enemy, without an Order from a 
General Officer — proper scouting parties are to be kept out by 
each Major General, for intelligence. 

The General, in a ride he took yesterday, to reconnoitre the 
Grounds about this way, was surprised and shocked to find 
both officers and soldiers, straggling all over the Country under 


one idle pretence or other, when they cannot tell the hour, or 
minute the Camp may be attacked, and their services indispen- 
sably necessary. 75 He once more positively orders, that neither 
officer or soldier, shall stir out of Camp without leave; the first 
from the Brigadier, under whom he serves, and the latter from 
the commanding Officer of the Corps they belong to. 

The Provost Marshal is to take up all Stragglers; and it is 
enjoined upon all officers to seize every man, who fires his gun 
without leave, and to have him tied up immediately and re- 
ceive 20 lashes. 

The General desires that the commanding Officers of Corps 
will always report, their killed and wounded, to the Brigadier 
they belong to, who is to give an account thereof, to the Com- 
mander in Chief. 

The Court-Martial whereof Genl. Beall was President, hav- 
ing found Capt. Weisner, guilty of "Misbehaviour before the 
enemy in the attack on Montresor's Island" — and ordered him 
to be cashiered with infamy, — The General approves the sen- 
tence, and orders him to be dismissed the Army. 

Ensign Joseph Chapman having resigned his Commission, 
is appointed Pay-Master to Col Varnum's regiment. 

It is with astonishment the General hears, that some officers 
have taken Horses, between the Enemy's Camp and ours, and 
sent them into the Country for their private use : Can it be pos- 
sible, that persons bearing Commissions, and fighting in such 
a Cause, can degrade themselves into Plunderers of horses ? — 
He hopes every officer will set his face against it, in future; and 
does insist that the Colonels, and commanding Officers of 

75 On October 31 Harrison again wrote to Congress for Washington that "His 
Excellency would have wrote himself . . . but his attention is totally engaged in 
ordering the Affairs of the Army and the best mode for its removal." He also stated: 
"Our Army is decreasing fast; several Gendemen who have come to Camp within 
a few days, have observed large numbers of militia returning Home on the different 
roads, nor are any measures taken as yet to raise the New Army, no Committees hav- 
ing come from the States to appoint or signifye the nomination of their Officers." 
This letter is in the Papers of the Continental Congress. 


Regiments, immediately enquire into the matter, and report to 
him, who have been guilty of these practices; and that they 
take an Account of the Horses in their respective Encamp- 
ments, and send to the Quarter-Master-General, all that are 
not in some public service. 

Wounded men to be sent to Doctor Morgan, at the Houses 
about a mile from the lines, on the road to North-Castle. 

Peter Buise of Col Haslett's regiment, convicted by a 
General-Court-Martial, whereof Col Hitchcock was President 
of "Desertion from this Camp, and found near the Enemy's 
Sentinels" is sentenced to suffer Death — 

The General approves the sentence, and orders it to be exe- 
cuted to morrow at n O'Clock, on the crutch of the road 
which leads to Youngs and North-Castle. 

Commanding Officers of regiments are immediately to have 
the Arms and Ammunition of their regiments inspected — The 
Guns that were loaded before the rain to be discharged in Vol- 
lies; and they are acquainted that three Waggons, loaded with 
Ammunition, now wait about a mile on the nearest road to 
North-Castle, in order to serve such as are deficient. 


[October — , 1776.] 
Gentlemen : This will be delivered you by Mr.Gilman 77 who 
conducted 7 Penobscot Indians into this Camp and expects to 
meet a larger number on his Return. As he desired my Instruc- 
tions with Respect to the latter, I have given them founded on 
the advancement of the Season, and the little Probability of 
deriving any essential Benefit from them at this Time, when 
both Armies are most probably retireing into Winter Quarters. 

76 Ford thinks this letter was sent to the Massachusetts Assembly and dates it 1 776' from 
an indorsement. The Massachusetts Council wrote to Washington (Oct. 5, 1776) re- 
specting Gilman and these seven Penobscots as being then on their way to Washington. 

"Andrew Gilman. 


My Directions to him are not to have them advanced farther at 
present, but to return with them and take such further Orders 
from You with Respect to their future Destination as you from 
your knowledge of their Circumstances and Situation shall 
think best. Whatever Expence has or may accrue on their Ac- 
count will certainly be brought into the Continental Account, 
and I make no doubt but such gratuities will be also allowed 
as you may think proper and necessary. Should there be any 
other Disposition of them arising from Circumstances not now 
known I must beg leave to observe to you that this Army is so 
unprovided with all kinds of Woollens, that I have not the most 
distant prospect of supplying them with those Necessaries here, 
and it is so much to be feared, that any Disappointment would 
make the most unfavorable Impressions on their Minds. Should 
they therefore proceed to this Camp, I flatter myself they will 
be furnished with the Articles necessary for the Season before 
they proceed hither. 

If they are to be put into service the next Season in Conse- 
quence of any Engagements already entered into, or which 
may be done, I would suggest the propriety of keeping them 
collected together in some proper place, rather than suffering 
them to disperse into their several Towns from which it may 
be difficult to gather them, when wanted. I am, etc. 78 


Head-Quarters, White-Plains, November i, 1776. 79 
Parole Belford. Countersign Spain. 

Peter Buise under sentence of death, and to be executed this 
day, is reprieved until Monday 11 o'clock. 

78 The text is from the Correspondence and Journals of Samuel Blatchley Webb, 
edited by W. C. Ford (New York: 1893). 

78 On this date Robert Hanson Harrison wrote to Congress: "I am directed by 
his Excellency to acknowledge his receipt of your favor of the 28th Ulto. . . . and 
to transmit you a copy of the letter I had the honor of writing you by the Boston 


The General Court Martial whereof Genl. McDougall is 
President, to sit to morrow, at the house above Genl. Lee's 
Quarters, for the trial of Col. Graham 80 — Col Foreman of Genl 
Heard's Brigade, and other Witnesses to attend. 

The moving state of the Army will occasion some irregular- 
ity, but the General hopes that officers of all Ranks, will exert 
themselves, to correct all abuses, particularly the following; 

Straggling from Camp, or plundering parties. 

Taking up and keeping horses. 

Loading the teams with heavy lumber and unnecessary 

Firing in, and about, the Camp. 
To prevent the first — the Rolls are to be frequently called, at 
least three times a day, and the absent punished — To prevent 
the second, all Horses not belonging to the Artillery, or Ammu- 
nition or Field-Officers, to be collected and sent to the Quarter- 
Master General, near Head-Quarters — To prevent the third, the 
Field Officers should have a general examination of the bag- 
gage of their regiments; and all heavy Chests, Tables, Chairs, 
and other lumber be left, or after this, they will be thrown 
off the Waggons wherever met with: To prevent firing in 
Camp, the Order of yesterday to be executed, by giving the 

Express by his command. Had the Express been charged with no other Letter, the 
loss would not have been attended with any material injury to us, or advantage to 
the Enemy, provided it should come to their Hands, but there were others from his 
Excellency of a very interesting nature, the miscarriage of which gives him much 
concern. As the bundle was taken away in so sudden and secret a manner, I fear 
there is but little hope of recovering it, being done most probably for the express 
purpose of furnishing the Enemy with Intelligence and a State of our Army. Besides 
his Excellency's Letters, the most material of which was to Mr. Rutlidge, there were 
five or six more from the Gentlemen of his family." Timothy Dodd, the express 
rider, reported that his mail pouch had been stolen from him at Bristol, Pa. A com- 
mittee of Congress investigated the matter but could not clear it up. Dodd's statement 
not being so clear or satisfactory as fully to exculpate himself, he was placed under 
arrest, but after a month's confinement released. (See Journals of the Continental 
Congress, Oct. 29 and 31 and Dec. 12, 1776.) The deputy postmaster at Bristol, one 
Bessonet, and his barkeeper were arrested and search made for one Wilkins, who was 
at the tavern when the packet was lost. Nothing, however, was proved against the 

80 Col. Morris Graham, of the New York Militia. 


offender 10 lashes on the spot, let him belong to what regi- 
ment he may. 

A Relief having come for the Light-Horse under Major 
Backers, 81 that Corps is now dismissed with the General's 
hearty thanks for their faithful services, and the cheerfulness 
and alacrity they have shewn upon all occasions. 


Head-Quarters, White-Plains, November 2, 1776. 

Parole Westchester. Countersign Sussex. 

The General expressly forbids any person, or soldier, belong- 
ing to the Army, to set fire to any House, or Barn, on any 
pretence, without a special order from some General Officer. 


Head-Quarters, White-Plains, November 3, 1776. 

Parole . Countersign . 

The General is sorry to find, that there are some Soldiers, so 
lost to all Sense of Honor, and Honesty, as to leave the Army, 
when there is the greatest necessity for their services: He calls 
upon the Officers of every Rank, to exert themselves, in putting 
a stop to it, and absolutely forbids any officer, under the Rank 
of a Brigadier General, discharging any officer, or soldier, or giv- 
ing any permission to leave the Camp on any pretence whatever. 

The sick of the Militia may be discharged by their General 
Officer, after he has seen them, and is satisfied of their inca- 
pacity to do duty, but not otherwise. 

The situation of the Army, and the Season, requiring that 
the Soldiery should be as well accommodated as possible, es- 
pecially at night; the taking of Straw, or even Grain in the 

81 Maj. Ebenezer Backus, of the Connecticut Light Horse. 



sheaf, is not to be considered as included in the Orders against 


Head Quarters, November 3, 1776. 

Dear Sir: I am favd. with yours of the 29th. last Month. 
Altho' by the Resolutions of Congress you are appointed to the 
Director Generalship of the Flying Camp in New Jersey, and 
Doctor Morgan to that of the Continental Army which has lain 
on this side the North River, yet I never imagined it meant to 
exclude either of you from the power of establishing Hospitals 
on which ever side of the River you thought most convenient 
for your respective Sick. Under the Circumstances in which we 
left New York we found it impossible to remove our Sick up 
the Country on this side the River, Doer. Morgan was therefore 
directed to provide and prepare Hospitals for them in Jersey, 
to be under the Controul of him and his Assistants. 

He informs me he has left Doer. Foster 82 with proper Assist- 
ants to care of those Sick who were removed from this Army, 
and it is my desire that they may remain under his Direction, 
he will undoubtedly take proper Measure to provide com- 
fortably for them. As fast as they recover they are to be sent 
over to this Army again, and tho they may have put you to 
some Inconvenience for a time, yet consider, the Necessity 
of the times must plead the Excuse. We have now established 
Hospitals in this Neighbourhood, and therefore shall have 
occasion to send no more to Jersey. As fast as Doer. Fosters 
Sick are removed the Houses will be left for your Use and 
Convenience. I am, etc. 83 

82 Dr. Isaac Foster, hospital surgeon. 

83 The original of this, in the writing of Tench Tilghman, is in the Papers of the 
Continental Congress. 



Head-Quarters, White-Plains, November 4, 1776. 84 

Parole . Countersign . 

The General desires, in express and positive terms, that the 
Brigadiers, and Colonels commanding brigades, see every regi- 
ment, respectively belonging to them, paraded to morrow (but 
not at the same instant) — the rolls called over, and every offi- 
cer and soldier satisfactorily accounted for, or sent after; their 
Arms also to be examined, and a report thereof to be made — 
Where the Brigadiers are absent, or incapable of acting, the 
Major-General is to attend to the execution of this order. 

Peter Buise, under sentence of death for desertion, is further 
reprieved 'till Wednesday. 

All Deserters and Prisoners to be reported to the Brigadier 
of the troops to whom they come, or by whom they are taken, 
who is to send them to Head-Quarters, as soon as possible. 

The Colonels and commanding Officers of Regiments will 
remember, that they stand accountable for the Arms received 
by their respective regiments — that all their spare Arms are to 
be carefully collected, and sent to the Commissary of Stores, 
or reported immediately to Head-Quarters. 

Col Bailey's Regiment, now in Genl. Nixon's Brigade, to 
join the Brigade of which Col. Glover is Commandant, and 
Col Reed's, now in Col Glovers to join Genl. Nixon. 

84 The Board of War continued its important clerical functioning during this period 
and (October 24) wrote to Washington proposing a plan for systematizing ration 
returns and pay of discharged soldiers. The harassed Commander in Chief asked 
Robert Hanson Harrison to answer the Board's letter, which he did (November 4), 
to the effect that his Excellency " esteems the plan you propose to lay before Congress 
for preventing more Rations being drawn, than may be due, well calculated to answer 
the end. That respecting the sick, seems to him, not entirely perfect. The Captains or 
Commanders of Companies are prohibited from drawing pay for such Sick as may 
be discharged from the Hospitals as unfit for service. If during their stay, and before 
it can be known whether their case will or will not admit of their return, It should 
become necessary to make up a Regimental pay Abstract, in what manner are the 
Officers to make up their Rolls? are they to include the Sick or not? As this is a case 



Head Quarters, White Plains, November 5, 1776. 

Parole Maroneck. Countersign Goshen. 

Some Barracks having been already built at Peekskill, and 
others erecting for the reception of the troops at that place, the 
General directs, that the Major Generals do select from their 
several divisions, all their Convalescents and others not entirely 
Fit for duty, and have them sent up there under proper offi- 
cers. Those men who have been sent into the Country to re- 
cruit, are to be included, if they are not well enough to return 
to their duty in Camp. This Order is not to extend to such sick 
as are fit subjects for the Hospital, nor is it intended to coun- 
termand the orders of the 3rd. Instant, for discharging such 
of the sick Militia, as chuse to go home after the inspection of 
the General Officer commanding them: The Arms and Bag- 
gage of such men, as move to Peek's-kill, to be taken along, as 
they are intended for the security of that post. Spare Arms 
properly put up may also be removed there. 

The General is very sensible that the time of service, of 
many of the Militia, will soon expire, but as this is the most 
interesting and critical part of the Campaign, and their depar- 
ture would greatly discourage the other troops, and injure the 
service ; He doubts not their Love to their Country, will induce 

that may and must of necessity frequently happen, It appears to his Excellency, that 
the intended regulation should be more general, and restrain the Officers from includ- 
ing in their pay Abstracts or Rolls all the Sick they send to the Hospitals, and the pay 
due 'em previous to their going. In such case those who are discharged as unfit for 
service, may receive their pay as intended, and those who return to duty can obtain 
what was due them, when the Regiment was paid, by applying to the Paymaster with 
the Officers' and Surgeon's Certificates, or be included in a subsequent Abstract. The 
Inconveniences and abuses which are designed to be remedied by those regulations, 
his Excellency does not apprehend to arise so much from necessity as Incident to the 
nature of Armies, as from the imperfect institution of the present, and the great mix- 
ture and diversity of Troops composing It, and also from the inattention of the 
Officers, in whose appointments but too little regard has been had in choosing men 
of merit and honor. ..." Harrison's letter is in the Washington Papers. 


them to prolong their stay, until the Close of the Campaign, 
which must soon happen. 

The several Brigadiers, and Colonels commanding Brigades, 
are immediately to make report of the Tools in their respective 
Brigades, to the Quarter-Master-General. 

The General gives it strictly in charge, to the commanding 
officer of every regiment, to see that the bottom of the Tents are 
not covered with earth; and that upon the removal of the Army, 
at any time, and upon all occasions, Tents are the first things 
that are put into the Waggons allowed each regiment — The 
Brigadiers must pay attention to this also. 

The order of yesterday with respect to Col Bailey joining 
Col Glover's Brigade was founded on a mistake; that Regi- 
ment is to continue as at present. Col Webb's is to join Colonel 
Glover's brigade, and Col. Reed is to join Genl McDougall's 


White Plains, November 6, 1776. 
Dear Brother: I have had the pleasure to receive your Letter 
of the 6th. Ulto. We have, I think, by one Manouvre and an- 
other, and with a parcel of but it is best to say nothing 

more about them. Mixed, and ungovernable Troops, spun the 
Campaign out to this time without coming to any decisive 
Action, or without letting Genl. How obtain any advantage 
which, in my opinion, can contribute much to the comple- 
tion of the business he is come upon, or to the Honour and glory 
of the British Arms, and those of their Auxilaries. Our num- 
bers from the Beginning have been disjointed and confused, 
and much less than were apprehended; had we ever hazarded 
a general action with them therefore, unless it had been in 


our Works at New York, or Harlem heights, we undoubtedly 
should have risked a good cause upon a very unfavourable Issue. 

Whilst we lay at the upper end of York Island (or the heights 
of Harlem) How suddenly Landed from the best accts. we cd. 
get, about 16,000 Men above us, on a place called Frogs point 
on the East River, or Sound, this obliged Us, as his design was 
evidently to surround us, and cut of our Communication with 
the Country, thereby stopping all Supplies of Provisions (of 
which we were very scant) to remove our Camp and out Flank 
him, which we have done, and by degrees got strongly posted 
on advantageous Grounds at this place. 

It is not in my power to furnish you with so extensive a Draft 
as you require, as I have none but printed Maps of the Country 
you want to see deleniated, and have no person about me that 
has time enough to Copy one, but a rough sketch of the Coun- 
try in wch. we have been Manourvreing,and which I had taken 
off to carry in my pocket, I inclose you as it will afford some 
Idea of the parts adjacent to New York. 

Novr. 19, at Hackensac. 

I began this Letter at the White plains as you will see by the 
first part of it; but by the time I had got thus far the Enemy ad- 
vanced a Second time (for they had done it once before, and 
after engaging some Troops which I had posted on a Hill, 85 
and driving them from it with the loss of abt. 300 killed and 
Wounded to them, and little more than half the number to us) 
as if they meant a genel. Attack, but finding us ready to receive 
them, and upon such ground as they could not approach with- 
out loss, they filed of and retreated towards New York. 

As it was conceived that this Manoeuvre was done with a de- 
sign to attack Fort Washington (near Harlem heights) or to 
throw a bo dy of Troops into the Jerseys, or what might be still 

"Chattertons Hill, N. Y. 


worse, aim a stroke at Philadelphia, I hastend over on this side 
with abt. 5000 Men by a round about March (wch. we were 
obliged to take on Acct. of the Shipping opposing the passage 
at all the lower Ferries) of near 65 Miles, but did not get hear 
time enough to take Measures to save Fort Washington tho 
I got here myself a day or two before it surrendered, which 
happened on the 16th. Instt. after making a defence of about 
4 or 5 hours only. 

We have no particular Acct. of the loss on either side, or of 
the Circumstances attending this matter, the whole Garrison 
after being drove from the out lines, and retiring within the 
Fort surrendered themselves Prisoners of War, and giving me 
no Acct. of the terms. By a letter, which I have just receivd 
from Genl. Greene at Fort Lee, (wch. is opposite to Fort Wash- 
ington) I am informd that "one of the Train of Artillery came 
across the River last Night on a Raft, by his Acct. the Enemy 
have suffered greatly on the North side of Fort Washington. 
Colo. Rawlings's Regiment (late Hugh Stephenson's) was 
posted there, and behaved with great Spirit. Colo. Magaw 
could not get the Men to Man the Lines, otherwise he would 
not have given up the Fort." 

This is a most unfortunate affair, and has given me great 
Mortification as we have lost not only two thousand Men that 
were there, but a good deal of Artillery, and some of the best 
Arms we had. And what adds to my Mortification is, that this 
Post, after the last Ships went past it, was held contrary to my 
Wishes and opinion; as I conceived it to be a dangerous one: 
but being determind on by a full Council of General Officers, 
and recieving a resolution of Congress strongly expressive of 
their desires, that the Channel of the River (which we had 
been labouring to stop for a long time at this place) might 
be obstructed, if possible; and knowing that this could not be 
done unless there were Batteries to protect the obstruction I did 


not care to give an absolute order for withdrawing the Garri- 
son till I could get round and see the Situation of things and 
then it became too late as the Fort was Invested. I had given 
it, upon the passing of the last Ships, as my opinion to Genl. 
Greene, under whose care it was, that it would be best to evacu- 
ate the place; but, as the order was discretionary, and his opin- 
ion differed from mine, it unhappily was delayed too long, to 
my great grief, as I think Genl. Howe, considering his Army 
and ours, would have had but a poor tale to have told without 
it and would have found it difficult, unless some Southern Ex- 
pedition may prove successful, to have reconciled the People 
of England to the Conquest of a few pitiful Islands, none of 
wch. were defensible, considering the great number of their 
Ships and the power they have by Sea to surround and render 
them unapproachable. 

Your Letter of the 30th. of Octr. was delivered to me a few 
days ago by Colo. Woodford. It is a matter of great grief and 
surprize to me, to find the different States so slow, and inatten- 
tive to that essential business of levying their quota's of Men. 
In ten days from this date, there will not be above 2000 Men, if 
that, on this Side of Hudson's River (of the fixed and estab- 
lish'd Regiments) to oppose Howe's whole Army, and very 
little more on the other to secure the Eastern Colonies and the 
Important Passes leading through the Highlands to Albany 
and the Country about the Lakes. 86 In short it is impossible 

88 On November 23 Congress named James Wilson, James Smith, Samuel Chase, 
George Clymer, and Richard Stockton a committee " with full powers to devise and 
execute measures for effectually reinforcing General Washington, and obstructing the 
progress of General Howe's army." The Board of War was directed to order the bat- 
talion on the eastern shore of Virginia to march to Philadelphia and two Pennsyl- 
vania battalions commanded-by Colonels Cooke and Mackay to join Washington. The 
General was directed to order " under his immediate command such of the forces now 
in the northern department as have been raised in the states of Pensylvania and New 
Jersey." The committee report is printed in the Journals of the Continental Congress 
(L. C. edition), under date of November 23, and is concerned with Pennsylvania 
troops only. An unconscious commentary on the practice of the Board of War lies in 
the direction of Congress that it is "ordered to attend immediately to this business." 


for me in the compass of a Letter, to give you any Idea of our 
Situation, of my difficulties, and the constant perplexities and 
mortifications I constantly meet with, derived from the un- 
happy policy of short enlistments, and delaying them too long. 
Last fall or Winter, before the Army which was then to be 
raised, was set about, I represented in clear and explicit terms 
the evils wch. would arise from short Inlistments, the expence 
that must attend the raising an Army every year, the futility 
of such an Army when raised; and, in a word, if I had spok 
with a prophetick Spirit, could not have foretold the evils with 
more accuracy than I did; all the year since I have been press- 
ing them to delay no time in engaging Men upon such terms 
as would Insure success, telling them that the longer it was de- 
layed the more difficult it would grow; but the measure was 
not set about till it was too late to be effected, and then in such 
a manner as to bid adieu to every hope of getting an Army, 
from which any Services are to be expected; 87 the different 
States without regard to the merits or qualifications of an Offi- 
cer, quarelling about the appointments, and nominating such 
as are not fit to be Shoe Blacks from the local attachments of 
this or that Member of Assembly. 

I am wearied almost to death with the retrograde Motions of 
things, and I solemnly protest that a pecuniary reward of 
20,000 £ a year would not induce me to undergo what I do; 
and after all, perhaps, to loose my Character as it is impossible 
under such a variety of distressing Circumstances to conduct 
matters agreeably to public expectation, or even of those who 
employ me, as they will not make proper allowances for the 
difficulties their own errors have occasioned. 

"Ford quotes Edward Rutledge to John Jay (November 24) : "You know that body 
[Congress] possesses its share of human weakness; and that it is not impossible for 
the members of that House to have their attention engrossed by subjects which might 
as well be postponed for the present, while such as require despatch have been — I had 
almost said — neglected." 


I am glad to find by your last Letter that your family are 
tolerably well recoverd from the Indisposition they labourd 
under. God grant you all health and happiness; nothing in 
this world would contribute so much to mine as to be once 
more fixed among you in the peaceable enjoyment of my own 
Vine, and fig Tree. Adieu my dear Sir; remember me Affec- 
tionately to my Sister and the Family, and give my Compli- 
ments to those who enquire after Yr. Sincerely Affectionate 


White Plains, November 6, 1776. 
Gentn : The Situation of our affairs is critical and truly alarm- 
ing; the dissolution of our Army is fast approaching and but 
little, if any, prospect of levying a New One, in a reasonable 
time ; A large part of it, under the denomination of new Levies, 
are now on the eve of their departure, and this at a time when 
the Enemy have a very numerous and formadable force, watch- 
ing an opportunity to execute their plans and to spread ruin 
and devastation among us. Impressed with the importance of 
these Matters, I this day laid them before a Council of Genl. 
Officers, with a view of Obtaining their opinion upon the same ; 
and of the Measures, which in their judgment, should be im- 
mediately adopted; The result was, that I should apply to sev- 
eral of the States for supplies of Militia, and that your Honble. 
Assembly, should be requested to furnish, as soon as possible, 
4,000. as their Quota, to be properly accoutred and equipped 
with every necessary, to supply the place of those, who are now 
here under General Lincoln, and who, I fear, will not be pre- 
vail'd upon to stay longer than the time they engaged for, at first. 
The hope and probability of raising a New Army, within a con- 
venient time, are so little, and the consequences so evidently 


alarming, if a Sufficient force is not kept up to counteract 
the designs of the Enemy in the mean time; that the Council 
and myself have unanimously agreed, that the Militia should 
be engaged, if possible, to continue till the first of March, un- 
less their Return can be sooner dispensed with. We flatter our- 
selves by that time, if not long before, such an Army will be 
levyed, as to render any future claims upon them, unless in 
cases of the most pressing emergency, altogether unnecessary. 
From the experience, I have had, of your past exertions in 
times of difficulty, I know that nothing, in your power to effect, 
will be wanting, and with the greatest confidence I trust, that 
the present requisition will have your most ready approba- 
tion and Compliance; being in some degree anticipated by 
the inquiry you have directed to be made into the state of our 
affairs, and whether any farther aid will be necessary. I have 
the Honor etc. 88 


White Plains, November 6, 1776. 
Sir : I have the honor to inform you, that on yesterday Morn- 
ing, the Enemy made a Sudden and unexpected movement 
from the Several Posts they had taken in our front, they broke 
up their whole Encampments the preceeding night, and have 
advanced towards Kingsbridge and the North River. The de- 
sign of this Manoeuvre is a Matter of much conjecture and 
speculation, and cannot be accounted for, with any degree of 
certainty. The grounds we had taken possession of, were strong 
and advantageous, and such as they could not have gained, 
without much loss of Blood, in case an attempt had been made ; 
I had taken every possible precaution to prevent their out- 
flanking us, which may have led to the present measure. They 

88 The draft is in the writing of William Grayson. 

v J'utffititl it-Mi* 'utf/jfi-ufi, (*ti<' t {vi,<J6ft£A 

■> I fA It? u •/; • '■'£ Sl<W fr't fl0fiff-.l>i l4'l*t*(**,*fCU '&**■/ 

' P £* 1 * *' ' 

/ ■ ' 

<J fi c A hf, t if, $ ft/? //. fyy {f 

**ttM7u1 ;//?//&} fat J*fr*>' ntpmfCuf^'^ 

M^ijfae^i^ txw^y *U(t» y<Ut*i'+n */ 

Resolve of Congress of December ii, 1776, Which Washington Suppressed 

GDI I I ( f -I- I (l:| KAI A 


may still have in View their original plan, and by a sudden 
wheel, try to accomplish it. Detachments are constantly out to 
observe their motions, and to harrass them as much as possible. 
In consequence of this movement, I called a Council of 
General Officers to day, to consult of such measures as should 
be adopted, in case they pursued their retreat to New York. 
The result of which is herewith transmitted. 89 In respect to my- 
self, I cannot indulge an Idea, that Genl. Howe, supposing he is 
going to New York, means to close the Campaign and to sit 
down without attempting something more. I think it highly 
probable and almost certain that he will make a descent with 
part of his troops into Jersey, and as soon as I am satisfied that 
the present Maneuvre is real and not a feint, I shall use every 
means in my power, to forward a part of our force to coun- 
teract his designs. Nor shall I be disappointed, if he sends 
a detachment to the Southward, for the purpose of making a 
Winter's Campaign, from the information I have received, there 
is now a number of Transports at Red Hook, with about three 
thousand Troops on Board; their destination as given out, is to 
Rhode Island, but this seems altogether Improbable, for vari- 
ous reasons; among others, the season is much against it, in the 
Southern States they will find it milder and much more favor- 
able for their purposes. I shall take the liberty of mentioning, 
that it may not be improper to suggest the probability of such 
a measure to the Assemblies and Conventions in those States; 
that they may be on their guard, and of the propriety of their 
Establishing and laying up Magazines of Provisions and other 

89 The original proceedings of this council (November 6), at White Plains, N. Y., in 
Joseph Reed's writing, is inthe Washington Papers; the copy forwarded to Congress 
is in that of Tench Tilghman. Washington propounded three queries, to which the 
council agreed unanimously as to the first — that in case the enemy were retreating 
toward New York City it would be proper immediately to throw a body of troops into 
New Jersey; that those raised on the west side of Hudson's River should be detached 
for this purpose and those raised on the east side should continue there; and that 
3,000 men should be stationed at Peekskill and the passes of the Highlands. 


necessaries in Suitable places. This is a matter of exceeding 
importance, and what cannot be too much attended to. 

From the approaching dissolution of the Army, and the de- 
parture of the new Levies, which is on the Eve of taking place, 
and the little prospect of levying a new one in time; I have 
wrote to the eastern States, by the unanimous advice of the 
General Officers, to forward Supplies of Militia in the room of 
those that are now here, and who is feared, will not be prevailed 
on, to stay any longer than the time they are engaged for. The 
propriety of this application, I trust will appear, when it is 
known, that not a single Officer is yet Commissioned to recruit, 
and when it is considered, how essential it is to keep up some 
shew of force and shadow of an Army. 

I expect the Enemy will bend their force against Fort Wash- 
ington and invest it immediately, from some advices, it is an 
object that will attract their earliest Attention. 

I am happy to inform you that in the Engagement on Mon- 
day sennight, I have reason to believe, our loss was by no means 
so considerable as was conjectured at first. By some deserters 
and Prisoners we are told, that of the Enemy was tolerably 
great, some accounts make it about Four hundred in killed and 
Wounded ; — all agree, that among the former there was a Colo. 
Carr of the 35th. Regiment. 

The force that will be sent to Jersey, after I am satisfied of 
Mr. Howe's retreat, in addition to those now there, according 
to my present Opinion, will make it necessary for me to go 
with them, to put things in a proper Channel, and such a 
way of defence, as shall seem most probable to check the prog- 
ress of the Enemy, in case they should attempt a descent there 
or a move towards Philadelphia. I have the honor to be &c. 90 

30 In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison; the draft is in that of Samuel Blatch- 
ley Webb. 



White Plains, November 6, 1776. 
Gentn. : Your favor of the 23d Instt., expressing your aston- 
ishment, that recruiting orders had not been issued to Colo. 
Magaw and Col. Cadwalladar, has been duly received. As it 
seems founded on Assurances given by me, I think it my Duty 
to explain the Matter and call to your recollection some cir- 
cumstances, which perhaps in the hurry of Business, you may 
have forgot. At the time you left Kingsbridge no one Officer 
that I recollect was fixed on nor was it known whether Col 
Cadwalleder would accept the Regiment if in his Power. 
There was not Money in the Continental Treasury at that 
time, to advance for the Bounty of even Hand's Regiment 
and all those who were consulted, agreed that it answered 
no Purpose to attempt the Business, without the Money in 
Hand. Another thing Gentlemen, you will I doubt not, agree 
with me in that it could not be the Generals Duty or that of 
any other General Officer to attend upon the Officers of those 
two Battalions, to know whether they would serve, or set 
about the Business, of recruiting and I am very confident 
that no application was made for Money or recruiting Orders: 
nor indeed could they, for the Enemy landed immediately 
after at Frog's Point. The Army immediately moved and has 
been moving ever since, so that there has not been leisure or 
Opportunity for transacting Business of this kind, our Com- 
munication with Mount Washington has now been cut off for 
2 Weeks and in short the Variety of Avocations to the imme- 
diate Safety and Interest of the Army under constant alarms 
and the approach of the Enemy has made that very natural 
to those on the spot which may appear very much otherwise to 


Gentlemen, whose short stay at such Times in the Camp, does 
not enable them to judge of the Difficulties which occur upon 
such occasions. 

The Necessity of appointing the officers who were to execute 
the recruiting Orders will appear, when it is recollected, that 
at that time it was understood, that 10/ was to be allowed for 
every Man recruited; so that the appointment must of course 
precede the Service. This the Congress have since altered. 
I have the Honor etc. 91 


Head-Quarters, White-Plains, November 6, 1776. 

Parole . Countersign — . 

As the late movements of the enemy will require some change 
of our present disposition, the General most earnestly requests, 
that the men who have been at the Hospital, and out of Camp 
on any other account, may be immediately collected and join 
their respective regiments. 

It is with the utmost astonishment and abhorrence, the Gen- 
eral is informed, that some base and cowardly Wretches have, 
last night, set fire to the Court-House, and other Buildings 
which the enemy left: The Army may rely on it, that they 
shall be brought to justice, and meet with the punishment 
they deserve. 92 

Mr. John Story is appointed Pay-Master to the Regiment 
commanded by Col. Hitchcock. 

81 The draft is in the writing of Joseph Reed. 

82 The courthouse at White Plains. A few barns and houses within the Continental 
lines, in which stores had been lodged, were burned by Washington's order when the 
army retreated from White Plains (October 31). Sparks states that these two different 
occasions have been confounded and the burning of the courthouse and some of the 
village houses ascribed erroneously to Washington's orders. 



Head-Quarters, White-Plains, November 7, 1776. 

Parole Dedham. Countersign Newbury. 

The Colonels, or commanding officers of regiments are im- 
mediately to parade their men, examine the state of their Regts. 
and make out their Pay-Abstracts in a careful, correct manner 
for the month of September. 

Genl. Wadsworth's Brigade to be in readiness to remove in 
a short notice, to the ground on which Lord Stirling is posted. 

Col Silliman to take charge of the Brigade during Genl. 
Wadsworth's illness. 

The General Officers, Colonels, and commanding Officers 
of regiments, are again called upon to examine the Baggage of 
the troops, under marching orders; to take care that the Tents 
and spare Arms of the regiment are first put into the Wag- 
gons, and then the proper Baggage of the regiment — No chairs, 
tables, heavy chests or lumber of any kind, to be put in, as it 
will certainly be thrown off, and left. 

No officer of any Rank is to meddle with a Waggon, or Cart, 
appropriated for any other regiment, or public use ; as they wish 
to avoid confusion, and injuring the service. 


White Plains, November 7, 1776. 
Dear Sir : The Enemy after having encamped in full view of us 
and reconnoitring our Situation for several days, thought proper 
on Tuesday morning to decamp; they have bent their course 
to Dobbs Ferry inclining towards Kingsbridge. What their 
real designs are, we, as yet are Strangers to, but conjecturing 


that too little is yet done by General Howe to go into Winter 
Quarters, we conceive that Fort Washington will be an Object 
for part of his Force, whilst New Jersey may claim the atten- 
tion of the other part. 

To Guard against the evils arising from the first, I must rec- 
ommend to you to pay every attention in your power and give 
every assistance you can to the Garrison opposite to you. To 
Guard against the latter, it has been determined (but this as 
much as possible under the rose) in a Council of War, to throw 
over a Body of Troops, so soon as we can with more precision 
ascertain the destination of the Enemy into the Jerseys. To 
facilitate this move, the Quarter Master General has sent over 
for Teams to meet the Troops at the Ferry above, and I should 
be glad to know your Sentiments of the place they should be 
marched to, as best for covering the inhabitants and impeding 
their progress towards Philadelphia, if such a Scheme is in con- 
templation. Would not Brunswick be the most likely place to 
answer this end ? Or is it too far from New York ? They can 
have no capital Object in view, unless it is Philadelphia; mak- 
ing excursions only into the Jerseys unless it is for Forage, is 
playing no more than a small game, but such a one as may be 
necessary for them and distressing to the Farmers, for which 
reason the inhabitants should always be prepared to drive off 
their Waggons, Teams, and stock that neither of them may 
fall into the hands of the Enemy. Impress this speedily and 
forcibly upon them. They may rely upon it, that the Enemy 
will leave nothing they find among them, nor do they dis- 
criminate between Whig and Tory, woeful experience has 
convinced the latter, in the movements of the Enemy in this 
State, of this Truth. 

If you have not already sent my Boxes with Camp Tables and 
Chairs, be so good as to let them remain with you, as I do not 


know but I shall move with the Troops designed for the Jer- 
seys, persuaded as I am of their having turned their Views that 
Way. I am of Opinion, that if your Magazines at Princetown 
were increased and those in the vicinity of New York lessened, 
it would be better. We find great risque and inconvenience 
arising from having Stores near Navigation, perhaps a Maga- 
zine at Brunswick might not be amiss. The Barracks there 
should be got in Order. I am etc. 93 


White Plains, November 7, 1776. 9 * 
Sir: On Tuesday Morning the Enemy broke up their En- 
campments which were in front of our lines, after having 
remained there several days, without attempting any thing; 
they have gone towards the North River and Kingsbridge. 

This Sudden and unexpected Movement, is a Matter of much 
Speculation, some suppose they are going into Winter Quar- 
ters, and will set down in New York, without doing more than 
investing Fort Washington; I cannot subscribe wholly to this 
Opinion myself; That they will invest Fort Washington, is a 
Matter of which there can be no doubt; and I think, there is 
a strong probability, that Genl. Howe will detach a part of his 
Force to make an Incursion into the Jerseys, provided he is going 
to New York. He must attempt something on Acct. of his Rep- 
utation, for what has he done as yet, with his great Army ? 

Persuaded that an Expedition to the Jerseys, will succeed his 
arrival in New York, with a Detachment of his Army; as soon 
as I can be satisfied, that the present Manoeuvre is a real Retreat, 

93 The draft is in the writing of John Walker. 

94 On November 7 Robert Hanson Harrison wrote to Governor Trumbull, by direc- 
tion of Washington, requesting a reenforcement of militia. This letter is in the 
Washington Papers and is printed in Force's American Archives. 


and not a feint; I shall throw over a body of our Troops, with 
the utmost expedition, to assist in checking their progress. At the 
same time I beg leave to recommend to your Consideration, 
the propriety and Necessity that some Measures should betaken, 
to place your Militia, on the best footing Possible, and that a 
part of them may be in readiness to Supply the place of the 
Troops (denominated New Levies) from your State, whose 
time of Service will presently expire. Your Vigilance and At- 
tention, I know, will not be wanting in any Instance; yet there 
is one thing more I will take the liberty to mention; that is, 
that the Inhabitants contiguous to the Water, should be pre- 
pared to remove their Stock, Grain, Effects and Carriages upon 
the earliest Notice. If they are not, the Calamities they will 
suffer, will be beyond all Description, and the Advantages de- 
rived to the Enemy immensely great; They have treated all 
here without discrimination. The distinction of Whig and 
Tory has been lost in one General Scene of Ravage and desola- 
tion. The Article of Forrage is of great Importance to them; 
not a Blade should remain for their use, what cannot be re- 
moved with Convenience should be consumed without the 
least Hesitation. These Several Matters I thought it my duty 
to suggest to you, not doubting, but you will give them such 
attention, as they may seem to deserve; and that your own 
good judgment will point out many more necessary regula- 
tions adapted to the Exigency of our affairs. 

I do not know the State of the Barracks about Elizabeth 
Town, Amboy, and Brunswick; they may be exceedingly nec- 
essary to cover our Troops, I think it will be adviseable to have 
them examined, and that you should direct such necessary 
Repairs to be made as they may require. I have the honor etc. 95 

'The draft is in the writing of Tench Tilghman. 



White Plains, November 8, 1776. 
Gentlemen : I have been favoured with yours of the 31st ulto. 
by Monsr. Laytaniac, 97 and must take the liberty of referring 
you to my former Letters upon the subject of providing for the 
French Gentlemen who shall incline to enter the service of 
the States. To me there appears that one of two modes must 
be adopted : they must either be appointed to places in some of 
the Regiments, or formed into a distinct Corps. The former 
was advised as the most eligible in Respect to the Gentlemen 
who were here before. It requires time to form an accurate 
opinion of the merits of an officer, and the present situation of 
the Army, will not allow me to pay a particular attention to 
Monsr. Laytaniac, or such notice as he may wish to receive, 
or I to give. Nor is there any way of making his stay here 
agreeable. I have &c. 98 


Head Quarters, November 8, 1776. 
Sir: The late passage of the 3 Vessels up the North River 
(which we have just received advice of) is so plain a Proof of 
the Inefficacy of all the Obstructions we have thrown into it, 
that I cannot but think, it will fully Justify a Change in the 
disposition which has been made. If we cannot prevent Vessels 
passing up, and the Enemy are possessed of the surrounding 
Country, what valuable purpose can it answer to attempt to 
hold a Post from which the expected Benefit cannot be had; 

96 Ford prints this letter as to the President of Congress. 

97 The Board of War's letter (October 31) gives him as Chevalier Lantagniac. The 
letter is in the Washington Papers. 

98 In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 


I am therefore inclined to think it will not be prudent to haz- 
ard the men and Stores at Mount Washington, but as you are on 
the Spot, leave it to you to give such Orders as to evacuating 
Mount Washington as you Judge best and so far revoking the 
Order given Colo. Magaw to defend it to the last. 

The best Accounts obtained from the Enemy, assure us of a 
considerable Movement among their Boats last Evening, and 
so far as can be collected from the various Sources of Intelli- 
gence, they must design a Penetration into Jersey and fall down 
upon your Post. You will therefore immediately have all the 
Stores &c. removed, which you do not deem necessary for your 
defence, and as the Enemy have drawn great Relief from the 
Forage and Provisions they have found in the Country, and 
which our Tenderness spared, you will do well to prevent their 
receiving any fresh Supplies there, by destroying it, if the In- 
habitants will not drive off their Stock and remove the Hay 
Grain &c. in time. Experience has shewn, that a contrary Con- 
duct is not of the least advantage to the poor Inhabitants, from 
whom all their Effects of every kind are taken, without dis- 
tinction and without the least Satisfaction. 

Troops are filing off from hence, as fast as our Circumstances 
and Situation will admit, in order to be transported over the 
River with all Expedition. I am etc. 

P. S. I need not Suggest to you the Necessity of giving Genl. 
Mercer early Information of all Circumstances, in Order that 
he may move up to your Relief with what Troops he has." 

"The draft is in the writing of Joseph Reed. The parenthetical phrase is so added 
by Washington. The letter sent is in the archives of the New York Historical So- 
ciety and the P. S. contains the additional sentence: "A Letter inclosed to General 
Stevens is left open for your Perusal." Greene, who was in command at Fort Lee, 
N. J., analyzes the situation and says (November 8): "Upon the whole I cannot help 
thinking the Garrison is of advantage, and I cannot conceive the Garrison to be in any 
great danger. . . . Col. Magaw thinks it will take them [the British] till December 
expires, before they can carry it." Greene's letter is in the Washington Papers. 

1776] HOWE'S SERVANT 259 


Head Quarters, White Plains, November 8, 1776. 

Parole Philadelphia. Countersign Portsmouth. 

The Court Martial of which Genl. McDougall is President, 
to sit immediately for the trial of Major Austin 1 in Arrest, upon 
Charge of "Burning the houses at White-Plains, contrary to 
General orders." 

Col Graham 2 and Capt. Gerrish, 3 tried by a Court-Martial 
whereof Genl. McDougall was President, for "Misbehaviour 
upon the approach of the enemy" are acquitted. 

Capt. Poole 4 of Col Cary's Regt.and Genl.Fellows's Brigade, 
tried by the same Court Martial, and convicted of " Shamefully 
abandoning his post" — ordered to be cashiered. 

The General approves each of the above Sentences; orders 
the former to join their regiments, and the latter to depart the 
Army immediately. 


Head Quarters, November 9, 1776. 
Sir: Yesterday Evening I received the favor of your Letter of 
the 8th. instant. Major Stewart's 5 Servant having never repre- 
sented himself as a person not inlisted in your Army, he was 
considered as a Prisoner of War and sent as such to Jersey. But 
upon your information that he was not in the Capacity of a 
Soldier, I will give immediate directions for him to be brought 
back that he may return to his Master. 

1 Maj. Jonathan William Austin, of the Sixteenth Continental Infantry. 

2 Col. Morris Graham, of the New York Militia. 

3 Capt. Jacob Gerrish, of the First Continental Infantry. 

*Capt. Jacob Poole, of the Sixth Continental Infantry. 

6 Maj. Charles Stuart, of the Forty-third Foot, British Army. 


This Servant was charged with a Letter of a private and deli- 
cate nature; but Major Stewart may be assured the Contents 
neither were nor shall be permitted to transpire. 

I regret that it has not been in my Power to effect the pro- 
posed Exchange of Prisoners before this Time. As soon as the 
proposition was agreed to, I wrote to the Governors and Con- 
ventions of the different States where the Prisoners were, to 
have them collected and sent to the most convenient places in 
the neighbourhood of the two Armies; their dispersed situation 
for their better accomodation has been the reason of the delay; 
At least I cannot ascribe it to any other cause : It has not arisen 
Sir, from any design on my part, and I am persuaded, the diffi- 
culty of drawing them together must be evident to you, espe- 
cially, as it was early suggested in some of my former Letters. 
As to the charge of your Officers being confined in common 
Gaols, I had hoped, that you were satisfied by my Assurances 
on this Head before. It is not my wish that Severity should be 
exercised towards any, whom the fortune of War has thrown, 
or, shall throw into our hands. On the Contrary, It is my desire 
that the utmost Humanity should be shewn them. I am con- 
vinced the latter has been the prevailing line of Conduct to 
Prisoners. There have been instances in which some have met 
with less Indulgence than could have been wished, owing to 
a refractory conduct and a disregard of Paroles. If there are 
other Instances, in which a Strict regard to propriety has not 
been observed, they have not come to my knowledge, and if 
you will be pleased to point them out and to particularize the 
Names of the Officers, the earliest inquiry shall be made into 
the complaint, and the cause removed if any exists. 

With Respect to the Stragglers who have lately fallen into 
our Hands, I cannot, upon the best consideration, discern how 
the Agreement subsisting between us is affected by sending 


them to Places from whence they may be easily collected upon 
a General exchange. That the Custom of War requires, or that 
the Interest of an Army, would admit of a daily Exchange of 
Prisoners are Points on which we are so unhappy as to differ 
in Sentiment. The Opportunities of conveying Intelligence and 
many other Consequences flowing from such an Intercourse 
seem so very obvious, that upon farther reflection, I flatter my- 
self you will think with me on this Subject. But if otherwise it 
might have been exemplified on your part, in the immediate 
return of such Straglers from our Army as have fallen into 
your Hands, which would have justified an Expectation of a 
similar Conduct from us. I am Sir, with great Respect &ca. 6 


White Plains, November 9, 1776. 

Sir : I have the honor to transmit you a Copy of a Letter from 
Genl Gates to Genl. Schuyler, 7 and of another paper contain- 
ing Intelligence respecting the Northern Army, and the situa- 
tion of the Enemy in that department. They this minute came 
to hand, and to them I beg leave to refer you for particulars. 

By every information I can obtain, and the accounts I had 
last night, by two deserters who were very intelligent and 
particular, Genl. Howe still has in view an expedition to the 
Jersey's and is preparing for it with the greatest industry. I have 
detached the first division of our Troops, which was thought 
necessary to be sent, and which I hope will cross the River at 

8 The draft of this letter is in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. The last para- 
graph, however, was, by Washington's direction, rewritten by Joseph Reed and so 
incorporated in the letter as sent. There was no change of thought, but a better and 
smoother expression of the same idea, though Reed's draft shows the difficulty he 
encountered in smoothing out the text. 

7 Gates's letter, dated Oct. 24, 1776, is in the Washington Papers. The other paper, 
a copy of which is filed with Washington's letter, in the Papers of the Continental 
Congress, informed of Sir John Johnson's movement down the Mohawk Valley to 
join Burgoyne at Albany. 


Peekskill to day. The Second I expect will all march this Eve- 
ning, and to morrow Morning I propose to follow myself, in 
order to put things in the best train I can and to give him 
every possible opposition. I hope when the two divisions arrive 
and are joined to such other force, as I expect to collect, to check 
his progress and prevent him from penetrating any distance 
from the River if not to oblige him to return immediately with 
some loss. Whatever is in my power to effect, shall be done. 
I have the honor to be &c. 8 


Head-Quarters, White-Plains, November 9, 1776. 

Parole . Countersign . 

The General desires, that all Colonels and commanding 
Officers of regiments, will be particularly attentive, that no 
discharged men, or men whose times have, or are about to 
expire, be suffered to carry off any Arms, Camp-Kettles, Uten- 
sils, or any other kind of store, which belong to the public; but 
that the whole be carefully delivered to the Quarter-Master- 
General (or his Assistants) or to the Commissary of Stores, as 
the case may be; taking Receipts therefor, in discharge of those 
they have passed for the delivery, in behalf of the Corps they 
respectively belong to. 


Head-Quarters, White-Plains, November 10, 1776. 
Parole North-Castle. Countersign Bedford. 
Such Officers as have been commissioned by the differ- 
ent States for the New-Army, are immediately to set about 

8 In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison; the draft, also in Harrison's writing, 
varies in minor verbal details from the above. 


recruiting from the Troops of such State only, upon the fol- 
lowing terms. 

Twenty Dollars Bounty. 

A Suit of Cloaths. 

One hundred Acres of land. 
The same pay and Rations, as are now given — The service to 
continue during the present Contest with Great-Britain. 

Such ample encouragement, it is not doubted, will induce 
every true Lover of his Country, to engage in its defence; to pre- 
serve it from the Horrors of Slavery, and the desolation of a cruel 
and barbarous enemy — No Boys (under the idea of Waiters, or 
otherwise) or old Men, to be inlisted — if they are, they will be 
returned on the hands of the officer, without any allowance for 
any expence he may be at. 9 


Head Quarters, Near the White Plains, 
November 10, 1776. 
Sir: The late Movement of the Enemy, 10 and the probability 
of their having designs upon the Jerseys (confirmed by sundry 
Accounts from deserters and prisoners,) rendering it necessary 
to throw a body of Troops over the North River, I shall imme- 
diately follow, and the command of the Army which remains 
after General Heath's division marches to Peekskill devolving 
upon you. I have to request; 

9 The following note, preceded by the hand pointer, is entered at this point in the 
Varick Transcripts of the General Orders: "£^The Original Orders from Novr. ioth 
to Jany 12th 1777 inclusive, are missing." The General Orders were copied from the 
originals in 1781 and the transcript certified by Alexander Scammell, then Adjutant 
General of the Continental Army. 

10 Three British ships had forced their passage up the river on the 9th, though suffer- 
ing considerable damage in masts and rigging from the American artillery. This 
interfered with the line of supplies to Washington's army by way of the Hudson River 
and also blocked work on obstructing the channel. 


That you will be particularly attentive that all the intrench- 
ing and other Tools, (excepting those in immediate use) be 
got together, and delivered to the Quarter Master General, or 
Major Reed, who heretofore has been intrusted with them. 

That you will direct the commanding Officer of Artillery, to 
exert himself, in having the Army well Supplied, with Musket 
Cartridges; for this purpose, a convenient place, at a distance, 
should be fixed on, that the business may go on uninterrupted. 

That no Troops, who have been furnished with Arms, Ac- 
coutrements, or Camp utensils, be suffered to depart the Camp, 
before they have delivered them, either to the Commissary of 
Stores, or the Quarter Master General, (or his Assistant), as 
the case may be, taking receipts therefore, in exoneration of 
those which they have passed. In a particular manner, let the 
tents be taken care of, and committed to the Quarter Master 
General's care. 

A Little time now must manifest the Enemy's designs, and 
point out to you, measures proper to be pursued by that part 
of the Army under your command, I shall give no direction 
therefore on this Head, having the most entire confidence in 
your Judgment, and Military exertions; one thing however, 
I will suggest, namely, that as the appearance of embarking 
Troops for the Jerseys, may be intended as a feint to weaken us, 
and render the strong post, we now hold, more vulnerable; or 
if they find that Troops are assembled, with more expedition, 
and in greater numbers, than they expected, on the Jersey shore, 
to oppose them; I say, as it is possible from one or the other of 
these motives, they may yet pay the Army under your com- 
mand, a visit; It will be unnecessary I am persuaded, to rec- 
ommend to you, the propriety of putting this post, if you stay 
at it, into a proper posture of defence, and guarding against, 
surprises; But I would recommend it to your consideration 


whether under the suggestion above, your retiring to Croton 
bridge, and some strong post still more Easterly (covering the 
other passes through the highlands) may not be more advise- 
able, than to run the hazard, of an attack with unequal num- 
bers; at any rate, I think all your Baggage, and Stores, except 
such as are necessary for immediate use, ought to be to the 
Northward of Croton River. 

In case of your removal from hence, I submit to the consid- 
eration of Yourself and the General Officers with you, the 
propriety of destroying the Hay, to prevent the Enemy from 
reaping the benefit of it. 

You will consider the post at Croton's or Pine's bridge, as 
under your immediate care, as also that lately occupied by 
Genl. Parsons, and the other at Wrights Mill; the first, I am 
taught to believe, is of consequence, the other two can be of 
little use, while the Enemy hover about the North River, and 
upon our right flank. 

General Wooster from the State of Connecticut, and by Order 
of the Governor with Several Regiments of Militia, are now 
I presume, in or about Stamford ; they Were to receive orders 
from me, of course they are to do it from you ; There are also 
some other Regiments of Connecticut Militia, who came out 
with General Saltonstall, and annexed to Genl. Parson's Bri- 
gade, and others which you must dispose of as occasion and 
Circumstances shall require; but as by the late returns, many of 
those Regiments are reduced to little more than a large Com- 
pany, I recommend the discharge of all such Supernumerary 
Officers, and the others annexed to some Brigade. 

As the Season will soon oblige the Enemy, to betake them- 
selves to Winter Quarters, and will not permit our Troops to 
remain much longer in tents, it may be well to consider in time, 
where Magazines of Provisions and Forage, should be laid in 


for the Army on the East side Hudson's River. Peeks kill or the 
Neighbourhood, would I should think be a very advantageous 
post for as many as can be supported there; Croton bridge may 
possibly be another good deposit, or some where more Easterly 
for the rest, as the Commissary, Quarter Master, &c, may assist 
in pointing out. 

It may not be amiss to remind you, for it must (as it ought) 
to have some influence on your deliberations and measures, that 
theMassachusets Militia, stand released from their Contract the 
17th. this instant, and that the Connecticut Militia are not en- 
gaged for any fixed period, and by what I can learn, begin to 
grow very impatient to return, few indeed of whom being left. 

If the Enemy should remove the whole, or the greatest part 
of their force, to the West side of Hudson's River, I have no 
doubt of your following, with all possible dispatch, leaving the 
Militia and Invalids to cover the Frontiers of Connecticut &c. in 
case of need. 11 


Head Quarters, White Plains, November 10, 1776. 

Sir : As it is more than probable (unless Genl. Howe should 
throw his whole force into the Jerseys and bend his Course to- 
wards Philadelphia), that there will Scarce be a Junction of our 
Troops again this Season, it may be well for you to Consider of 
a proper partition of the Field Artillery, Artillerists and Stores 
for each Service, and delay no time in the arrangement and dis- 
patch of those destined for the Western side of Hudsons River. 

With respect to Yourself, I shall Leave it to your own choice 
to go over or stay ; if you do not go, Colo. Mason must. Such 
Stores as are Necessary must be sent, and I intreat that no time 
may be lost in fixing Musket Cartridges for the use of the Army 

"The draft is in the writing of William Grayson. 


on the East side, whilst a Sufficient Number are sent, for the 
purpose of Supplying that on the West. 

For other directions and Orders in the Line of your Depart- 
ment, I shall embrace some other Opportunity, in the mean 
time your own Judgment will govern you, and I am persuaded 
Sufficiently Stimulate to the discharge of every Act, by which 
the public Service can be benefited. 

It is unnecessary to add, that if the Army of the Enemy should 
wholly or pretty generally throw themselves across the North 
River, that General Lee is to follow. 12 


Head Quarters, White Plains, November 10, 1776. 
Sir: As the period is fast approaching, when part of this 
Army will stand released from their Engagements to serve the 
public, and little prospect remains of prevailing upon them to 
stay longer, it becomes highly necessary for you, in time, to set 
about a Collection (at least an Enquiry after) the Tents and 
other Stores which have been delivered from your Department, 
and see that they are carefully deposited in some safe Place. 

The Tents (all such however as want it) are to be repaired, 
and put into the best order against another Season, as all other 
Articles which may require the like, and will admit of it, 
also should. 

Take, especially, care that all the intrenching Tools at the 
different Encampments, not in immediate use, be all collected 
and removed to some place of Safety or where Major Genl. Lee 
shall direct ; I do not conceive that there is Occasion to forward 
any with that part of the Army going to the Jerseys, but of this 
you can be satisfied from Inquiry. 

"The draft, in the writing of Stephen Moylan, is signed by Washington. 


The Uncertainty of the Enemy's designs, renders it almost 
impossible to point out places with any degree of propriety, for 
Magazines of Forage &c. dependent upon your Department. 
But as Peeks kill or the Neighbourhood of it, is considered as an 
important Post, you cannot do amiss in laying in plentifully at 
that place, And I should think another deposit at Croton (or 
Pine's) Bridge, could not be amiss, as it is represented to me as 
a post which ought to be held. 

Time and Circumstances may render further Instructions 
Necessary, till which your own Judgment, and General Lee's 
Orders must be your Government. 13 


Head Quarters, near the White Plains, 
November 10, 1776. 

Sir : The late movements of, and accts. from the Enemy, ren- 
dering it indispensably necessary that a body of Troops should 
be thrown into the Jerseys, it will be incumbent on you to know 
how, and in what manner they are to be Supplied. 

This moVe of a considerable part of our Force will, of course, 
lessen the consumption of Provisions at this side, and enable 
you to Increase your Magazines with greater facility; where 
to point these out, with precision, at this Instant, I know not; 
except at, or near Peekskill; which, as a Post of Importance, and 
contiguous to two Garrisons may well be adopted as one place 
for a deposit, and I think near Crotons (or Pines) Bridge may 
be considered as another; as I am taught to believe that this is 
also an Important pass, and necessary to be held. 

My present Ideas are that the other places for our Magazines 
should be more Easterly, at, or near the other Passes through 

"The draft, in the writing of Tench Tilghman, is addressed to the Quartermaster 
General or his assistant. 

1776] CARE OF ARMS, ETC. 269 

the Highlands. However on this Subject you will Consult 
Genl. Lee who will remain with the Troops at or in the Neigh- 
bourhood of this Camp for a while. 

I should think it unadviseable to have more provisions or 
Stores in this Camp, than what may be necessary to supply the 
present wants of the Troops as from the Scarcity of Teams it 
has been found extremely difficult to have even the Tents and 
the necessary Baggage of the Army removed upon any Emer- 
gency however Urgent. 

In case the Enemy should make a pretty general remove to 
the Jerseys that part of the Army under General Lee will more 
than probably follow, notice of which I now give. 14 [c.s.l.] 


Head Quarters, near the White Plains, 
November 10, 1776. 

Sir: As the Army (at least part of it) is near the period of its 
dissolution, you are to exert yourself to the utmost in recovering 
all the Arms and other Stores, which have been issued by you 
to the several Corps (whether Continental or Militia) in the 
Service of the United States. Such of the Arms as are unserv- 
iceable and cannot be repaired by the Armourers of the Army, 
are to be packed in Chests with an Inventory thereof, and num- 
bered in order that they may be sent to the Board of War 
at Philadelphia, or delivered to their Order, for the purpose 
of Repair. 

All the other Stores are to be deposited in careful Order, 
in some safe place near the Winter Quarters of the Troops on 
the East side of Hudson's River, comprehending the Stores 
taken from them. 

"The draft, in the writing of Stephen Moylan, and signed by Washington, is in the 
Washington Papers. 


You will remain on this Side (that is the East side) till fur- 
ther Orders and be particularly attentive to the above directions. 
I shall appoint some Person to do this Duty on the West Side 
of the River, who you are to furnish with a List of such Articles 
as the Troops there have drawn from you. 

Give particular attention to the makers of Cartridges that 
there may be no want of this Article, and as a part of the 
Army are removing to the Jerseys, under the Supposition that 
the Enemy are bending their Course that way, consult with 
Colo. Knox on the Stores necessary for their use, and see they 
are forwarded. 

It is unnecessary to add that the Troops under General Lee, 
will also cross Hudson's River, if it shou'd be necessary, in 
consequence of the Enemys throwing their force over. 


Head Quarters, November 10, 1776. 

Sir : I was yesterday Evening favored with a Call by the Gen- 
tlemen appointed Commissioners from your State, to arrange 
your officers, and to adopt some line of Conduct for recruiting 
the Quota of Men, which you are to furnish. 

In discussing this Subject, the Gentlemen informed me, that 
your Assembly, to induce their Men to enlist more readily into 
the Service, had passed a vote advancing their pay Twenty 
Shillings pr Month, over and above that allowed by Congress. 

It is seldom that I interfere in the determinations of any 
Public body, or venture to hold forth my opinion, contrary to 
the decisions which they form; but, upon this occasion, I must 
take the Liberty to mention, (especially as the influence of that 
Vote will be general and Continental), that, according to my 
Ideas and those of every General Officer I have Consulted with, 


a more mistaken Policy could not have been adopted, or one 
that, in its Consequences, will more effectually prevent the 
great object which Congress have in view, and which the Situa- 
tion of our affairs so loudly calls for, The Levying of a New 
Army. That the advance, allowed by your State, may be the 
means of raising your Quota of Men, sooner than it otherwise 
would, perhaps may be true; but, when it is considered, that it 
will be an effectual bar to the other States raising the Quotas ex- 
acted from them, — When It is certain, that, if their Quotas could 
be made up without this advance coming to their knowledge ; 
that the moment they come to Act with Troops who receive 
a higher pay, that jealousy, impatience and mutiny will imme- 
diately take place, and occasion desertions, if not a total disso- 
lution of the Army. It must be viewed in an Injurious and fatal 
point of light. That Troops will never act together, in the same 
Cause and for different pay, must be obvious to every one; 
Experience has already proved it in this Army. That Congress 
will take up the Matter and make the advance General, is a 
matter of which there can be but little probability, as the addi- 
tion of a Suit of Cloathes to the former pay of the Privates, was 
a long time debated before it could be obtained. I have, etc. 15 


Peeks kill, November n, 1776. 
Sir : I have only time to acknowledge the honor of your Letter 
of the 5th. Inst, and its Several Inclosures, and to inform you, 
that agreeable to the Resolves of Congress I shall use every 
Measure in my Power, that the moving and present confused 
State of the Army, will admit of, for to appoint Officers for 
recruiting. You will have been advised before this, of the 

'The draft is in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 


arrival of Commissioners from the Massachusetts. Others have 
come from Connecticut, but from the present appearance of 
things we seem but little, if any nearer levying an Army. I 
had anticipated the Resolve respecting the Militia, by writing 
to the Eastern States and to the Jerseys, by the advice of my 
Genl. Officers, and from a consciousness of the necessity of 
getting in a number of Men, if possible, to keep up the ap- 
pearance of an Army. How my applications will succeed, 
the event must determine. I have little or no reason to expect, 
that the Militia now here will remain a day longer than the 
time they first engaged for. I have recommended their stay 
and requested it in General Orders. General Lincoln and the 
Massachusetts Commissioners, are using their Interest with 
those from that State, but as far as I can judge, we cannot rely 
on their staying. 16 

I left white Plains about n O'clock yesterday, all peace 
then. The Enemy appeared to be preparing for their expe- 
dition to Jersey, according to every information. What then- 
designs are, or whether their present conduct is not a feint 
I cannot determine. The Maryland and Virginia Troops under 
Lord Stirling have crossed the River as have part of those from 
the Jersey, the remainder are now embarking. 

The Troops judged necessary to Secure the Several posts 
thro' the Highlands, have also got up. I am going to examine 
the Passes and direct such Works as may appear necessary, 
after which and making the best disposition I can, of things 
in this Quarter, I intend to proceed to Jersey, which I expect 
to do to Morrow. 

"Congress (October 4) had passed resolutions authorizing Washington, after con- 
sulting with such of his generals as he could conveniently call together, to grant 
warrants to officers of States which had not sent commissioners for such, appointing 
officers as he thought worthy of commissions; that these officers proceed to recruit 
their regiments and that Washington also take such steps as he might think most 
proper for continuing the militia then in camp. 


The Assemblies of Massachusetts and Connecticut, to induce 
their Men more readily to engage in the Service, have voted an 
Advance pay of Twenty Shillings pr Month in addition to that 
allowed by Congress to privates. It may perhaps be the means 
of their levying the Quotas exacted from them, sooner than 
they could otherwise be raised, but I am of Opinion 17 a more 
fatal and mistaken policy could not have entered their Coun- 
cils, or one more detrimental to the General Cause. The Influ- 
ence of the Vote will become Continental and materially affect 
the other States in making up their Levies. If they could do it, 
I am certain when the Troops come to act together, that Jeal- 
ousy, impatience and mutiny would necessarily arise. — A dif- 
ferent pay cannot exist in the same Army. The reasons are 
obvious and experience has proved their force, in the case of 
the Eastern and Southern Troops last Spring. Sensible of this, 
and of the pernicious consequences that would inevitably re- 
sult from the advance, I have prevented the Commissioners 
from proceeding or publishing their Terms, till they could ob- 
tain the sense of Congress upon the Subject and remonstrated 
against It, in a Letter to Governor Trumbull. I am not Singular 
in opinion, I have the concurrence of all the General Officers, 
of its fatal tendency. 13 

I congratulate you and Congress on the News from Tycon- 
deroga and that Genl Carlton and his Army have been Obliged 
to return to Canada, without attempting anything. I have&ca. 19 

"The draft, in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison, has the word "convinced," 
which was softened to "of opinion" in the letter sent. 

"Although Congress had determined what inducements should be offered to officers 
and men enlisting to serve during the war, the individual States undertook in some 
cases to alter the rewards. Maryland, having no lands in the west, offered to its re- 
cruits $10 in lieu of the 106 acres of land promised by Congress; but Congress decided 
that its faith was pledged to a performance of the promise of land, that the promise 
was equally obligatory upon its constituents, and no one State could by its own act be 
released therefrom, and requested the convention of Maryland to "reconsider" its 
resolution. — Ford. 

13 In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 



Peeks Kill, November 12, 1776. 

Dear Sir: Inclosed you will receive a Copy of Sundry Resolu- 
tions of Congress, which came to hand since I left the Plains. 
They will discover to you their Opinion, as to the Necessity of 
taking the most early Measures to levy the New Army. The Re- 
solves cannot have any Operation but in the instance of the 
Rhode Island Regiments, Commissioners having come from 
the States of Massachusets and Connecticut and being on the 
way from Maryland. They will be superseded too if any have 
arrived from Rhode Island, therefore the Resolutions are under 
that Condition. 

As it is of the last importance, that the recruiting Service 
should be begun, I must request, if the Commissrs. are not ar- 
rived from Rhode Island, that you will call upon Colo. Hitch- 
cock, 20 who will inform you of the Officers recommended to 
that State by Genl. Greene &c. and give Orders to them to begin 
their Inlistments immediately, on the Terms and Conditions 
allowed by Congress. Such of them as agree to stay and will 
undertake the Business, will be commissioned according to 
the rank assigned 'em in that recommendation. I have not got 
it by me, having sent it away with my papers before I came 
from Harlem. 

In respect to the Militia, you will try your influence to get 
them to remain; perhaps the requisition from Congress for that 
purpose, may have some effect, tho' I have but little expectation 
that it will. 

The Inclosed Letter for Colo. Darby you will please send in 
by the first Flag. 

20 Col. Daniel Hitchcock, of the Eleventh Continental Infantry. 


I cannot conclude without reminding you of the Military and 
other Stores about your Encampment and at North Castle, and to 
press the removal of them above Croton Bridge or such other 
places of Security, as you may Judge proper. Genl. Howe hav- 
ing sent no part of his force to Jersey yet, makes the measure 
more necessary, as he may perhaps turn his views another way 
and attempt their destruction. 

I have directed Colo. Putnam to examine the passes in the 
Highlands, Eastward of this place, and to lay out such Works 
as maybe necessary to secure 'em. When you remove your pres- 
ent Encampment, you will assign such a Number of Men to the 
several Posts, as you shall deem sufficient for their defence. 

I hope the Trial of Majr. Austin for Burning the Houses, will 
not be forgot; public Justice requires that it should be brought 
on as soon as it can. 21 I am &c. 22 


Head Quarters, at Peeks Kill, November 12, 1776. 
Sir : The uncertainty with respect to the designs of the Enemy 
renders any disposition of our Army at this time a little unset- 
tled; but for the present, your division, with such Troops as are 
now at Forts Constitution, Montgomery, and Independance 
are to be under your Command and remain in this Quarter for 
the security of the above Posts and the Passes through the High- 
lands from this place, and the one on the West side of Hudson's 
River. Colo. Tash's 23 Regiment is meant to be Included in 
this Command. 

_1 Maj. Jonathan Williams Austin, of the Sixteenth Continental Infantry, was tried 
(November 12) at Philipseburg, N. Y„ and sentenced to be dishonorably discharged. 
The proceedings of the court-martial are in the Washington Papers. 

""The draft is in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 

3 Col. Thomas Tash, of the New Hampshire Militia. 


Unnecessary it is for me to say any thing to evince the Im- 
portance of securing the Land and Water Communication 
through these Passes or to prove the Indispensable necessity 
of using every exertion in your power to have such Works 
erected for the defence of them as your own Judgment, as- 
sisted by that of your Brigadiers and the Engineer may shew 
the expediency of. 

To form an accurate judgment of the proper places to For- 
tify, in order effectually to secure the two Land passes above 
mentioned through the highlands requires a considerable de- 
gree of attention and knowledge of the Roads and Ways leading 
through the Hills; these you must get from Information and 
observation as my stay here will not allow me to give any direc- 
tion on this head with precision. 

You will not only keep in view the Importance of securing 
these Passes but the Necessity of doing it without delay; not 
only from the probability of the Enemy's attempting to seize 
them, but from the advanced Season, which will not admit of 
any Spade Work after the Frost (which may be daily expected) 
sets in. Loose not a moments time therefore in choosing the 
Grounds on the East, and West side of the River, on which 
your intended Works are to be erected. Let your Men designd 
for each Post be speedily alloted, and by your presence, and 
otherwise, do every thing to stimulate the Officers (respectively 
Commanding at each) to exert themselves inforwardingthem. 

The Cheapest kind of Barracks must be erected, contiguous 
to these places where no Covering now is for the Men. These 
may, I should think, be built of Logs and made warm at very 
little cost. In aportioning your Men to the different Posts (those 
to be established, as well as those already fixed on the River) 
I advise your keeping the Corps as much as possible together, and 
also desire that in this allotment you will consult your Officers, 


and such Gentlemen as have it in their power (from their supe- 
rior knowledge of the Country) to afford you good advice. 

Independant of the Barracks which may be found Necessary 
for the Men at the Posts before mentioned, I should think others 
ought to be Built at such Places in this Neighbourhood as the 
Quarter Master General and Engineer shall point out, as this 
must, from the Nature of it, be considered in an important 
point of view, and as well adapted for Winter Quarter for part 
of the Army, as any other place can be. 

If contrary to the general received opinion, Genl. Howes 
remove to Dobbs's Ferry was only intended as a feint to draw 
of part of our Force from the place which we last occupied and 
should make an attempt upon Genl. Lee you are to give him 
all the Aid you can, taking care at the same time to keep guards 
in the Posts and Passes you occupy. 

For the speedy, and regular punishment of Offences, you are 
hereby authorized and empowered, whilst you remain in a 
seperate Camp, to hold General Courts Martial and carry the 
judgments of them into Execution, in all cases whatsoever. 

Be particularly careful of all Intrenching Tools, Tents, (see- 
ing that the Bottoms of them are not covered with Dirt), and 
above all take care that no discharged Soldier is suffered to carry 
away any of the Publick Arms, or Accoutrements; apply to the 
Commissary of Stores for a list of those things furnished to 
the respective Colonels of Regiments and see that they acct. 
for them before the Men are dismissed. In like manner should 
every thing had of the Quarter Master Genl. be delivered up. 

Keep persons Employed in making of Cartridges and be 
particularly attentive that the Stores are taken care of, and the 
Powder kept from receiving damage; also prevent the Soldiery 
from committing any kind of waste and injuries to private or 
public property. 


The Men which composed the Detachment under Colo. 
Lasher are all to join their respective Corps immediately. 



Genl. Green's Quarters, November 14, 1776. 

Dear Sir : As an Exchange of Prisoners is likely to take effect, 
as soon as the nature of the case will admit, and as in the course 
of the transaction it may possibly happen, that an attempt may 
be made by the Enemy to redeem their prisoners, by men who 
were never ingaged in our Service, I must request you imme- 
diately to direct the Colonels or Commanders of Regiments in 
your Division, to make out an exact list of the particular Offi- 
cers and Privates who have been killed, taken prisoners or are 
missing in the respective Regiments, and companies to which 
they belonged; specifying the names of the whole, and the time 
when each Officer or Private was killed, taken prisoner or miss- 
ing; This List, as soon as it is completed, you will transmit to 
Head Quarters. 24 I am etc. 

P. S. I now inclose you, a copy of the recommendation of the 
Officers for the State of Rhode Island, which was furnished by 
General Greene, 25 and transmitted by me to Governor Cooke 
some time since. If the Commrs. have not yet arrived from 
thence, you will be pleased to direct the Officers therein 

^Several returns of this nature, dated Nov. 17, 1776, are in the Washington Papers. 
They are from Col. Jedidiah Huntington's, Brig. Gen. Samuel Holden Parsons's, 
Brig. Gen. John Morin Scott's, and Brig. Gen. George Clinton's brigades, Col. Samuel 
Selden's, Col. William Douglas's and Col.Ebenezer Gay's regiments. A general return 
of the entire force under Lee, dated Nov. 24, 1776, is printed in Force's American 
Archives, Fifth Series, vol. 3, 831. 

2 °"The recommendation of General Green which you transmitted to me threw the 
Officers to whom I communicated it into so great a flame of discontent, that I ventur'd 
notwithstanding your orders, to hesitate. They accus'd him of partiallity to his con- 
nexions and Townsmen, to the prejudice of men of manifestly superior merit; indeed, 
it appears from the concurrent testimony of unbias'd Persons, that some of the subjects 
He recommended were wretched; in short, I was so stunn'd with their clamour that 
I delay'd until the arrival of the Committee." — Lee to Washington, Nov. 19, 1776. 
Lee's letter is in the Washington Papers. 


nominated, who choose to serve, to recruit as fast as possible, out 
of their own Regiments and agreeable to the General Orders 
issued at the White Plains, before my departure. 26 


General Greene's Quarters, November 14, 1776. 

Sir: I have the honor to inform you of my arrival here Yes- 
terday, and that the whole of the Troops belonging to the 
States, which lay South of Hudsons River and which were in 
New York Government have passed over to this side, except 
the Regiment, lately Colo Smallwood's which I expect is now 
on their march. That they may be ready to check any incur- 
sions the Enemy may attempt in this Neighbourhood, I intend 
to quarter them at Brunswick, Amboy, Elizabeth Town, New- 
Ark and about this Place, Unless Congress should conceive it 
necessary for any of them to be Stationed at or more contiguous 
to Philadelphia. In such case they will be pleased to Signify 
their pleasure. There will be very few of them after the depar- 
ture of those who were engaged for the Flying Camp and 
which is fast approaching. The disposition I have mentioned, 
seems to me well calculated for the end proposed and also for 
their accommodation. 

The movements and designs of the Enemy are not yet under- 
stood. Various are the opinions and reports on this Head. 
From every information, the whole have removed from Dobb's 
ferry towards Kingsbridge, and it seems to be generally be- 
leived on all hands, that the investing of Fort Washington is 
one object they have in view. — But that can employ but a small 
part of their force. Whether they intend a Southern expedition 
must be determined by time. To me there appears a probability 

M The draft is in the writing of William Grayson and George Lewis. This same 
letter, except the P. S., was sent to Maj. Gen. William Heath. 


of it, and which seems to be favoured by the advices we have, 
that many Transports are wooding and Watering. General 
Greene's Letter 27 would give you the Substance of the Intelli- 
gence brought by Mr. Mercereau 28 from Staten Island in this 
Instance, which he received before It came to me. 

Inclosed you have Copies of two Letters from Genl. Howe and 
of my Answer to the first of them. The Letter alluded to and re- 
turned in his last, was One from myself to Mrs. Washington 
of the 25th. Ulto. from whence I conclude that all the Letters, 
which went by the Boston Express, have come to his possession. 29 
You will also perceive that General Howe has requested the 
return of Peter Jack a servant to Major Stewart, to which I have 
consented, as he was not in the Military line and the requisition 
agreeable to the Custom of War. This Servant having been 
sent to Philadelphia, with the Waldeckers and other Prisoners, 
I must request the favor of you to have him conveyed to Genl. 
Greene by the earliest Opportunity, in order that he may be 
returned to his master. 

Before I conclude, I beg leave not only to suggest but to urge 
the necessity of encreasing our Field Artillery very consider- 
ably. Experience has convinced me, as it has every Gentleman 
of discernment in this Army, that while we remain so much 
inferior to the Enemy in this instance, we must carry on the 
war under Infinite disadvantages, and without the smallest 
probability of success. It has been peculiarly owing to the 

"Greene had written (November n) of intelligence from New York of a projected 
British expedition against South Carolina. His letter is in the Washington Papers. 

2s John Mercereau. He sent in valuable intelligence to headquarters throughout the 
war while the main army was in the vicinity of New York City. 

"Howe's letters, dated Nov. 8 and 11, 1776, are in the Wasnington Papers. They 
relate mainly to the exchange of prisoners. For answer to the first see Washington's 
letter to Howe, Nov. 9, 1776, ante. The capture of these letters, among which was the 
one to Mrs. Washington, which Howe returned unopened, seems to have furnished 
the idea for J. Bew's London publication of the "Spurious Letters" of Washington. 
(See Washington's letter to Lund Washington, June 12, 1776, ante; and note to 
General Orders, Nov. 1, 1776, ante. 


situation of the Country where their operations have been con- 
ducted, and to the rough and strong grounds we possessed 
ourselves of and over which they had to pass, that they have not 
carried their Arms by means of their Artillery to a much greater 
extent. When these difficulties cease, by changing the Scene of 
action to a level champaign Country, the worst of consequences 
are justly to be apprehended. I would therefore, with the con- 
currence of all the Officers whom I have spoke to upon the 
subject, submit to the consideration of Congress, whether im- 
mediate measures ought not be taken for procuring a respect- 
able Train. It is agreed on all hands, that each Battalion should 
be furnished at least with Two pieces, and that a smaller num- 
ber than ioo of 3 lb., 50 of 6 lb. and 50 of 12 lb. should not be 
provided in addition to those we now have — besides these, if 
some 18 and 24 Pounders are ordered, the Train will be more 
serviceable and compleat. The whole should be of Brass for the 
most obvious reasons, they will be much more portable, not 
half so liable to burst, and when they do, no damage is occa- 
sioned by it, and they may be cast over again. Sizes before de- 
scribed should be particularly attended to, if they are not, there 
will be great reason to expect mistakes and confusion in the 
charges in Time of Action, as it has frequently happened in 
the best regulated Armies. The disparity between those I have 
mentioned and such as are of an Intermediate size, is difficult 
to discern. It is also agreed, that a Regiment of Artillerists, with 
approved and experienced Officers, should be obtained if pos- 
sible, and some Engineers of known reputation and abilities. 
I am sorry to say, too ready an Indulgence has been had to 
several appointments in the latter instance and that Men have 
been promoted who seem to me to know but little if any thing 
of the business, perhaps this Train &c. may be looked upon by 
some as large and expensive; true it will be so, but when it is 


considered that the Enemy (having effected but little in the 
course of the present Campaign) will use their utmost efforts 
to subjugate us in the next, every consideration of that sort 
should be disregarded, and every possible preparation made 
to frustrate their unjust and wicked attempts. How they are to 
be procured, is to be inquired into. That we cannot provide 
them among ourselves, or more than a very small proportion, 
so trifling as not to deserve our notice is evident; therefore 
I would advise, with all imaginable deference that without any 
abatement of our own Internal exertions, application should 
be immediately made to such Powers, as can and may be will- 
ing to supply them. They cannot be obtained too early, if soon 
enough, and I am told they may be easily had from France and 
Holland. 30 

Mr. Trumbull, the Commissary General, has frequently 
mentioned to me of late, the inadequacy of his pay to his trou- 
ble and the great risk he is subject to, on account of the large 
sums of Money which pass thro his Hands. He has stated his 
case with a view of laying it before Congress, and obtaining a 
more adequate compensation. My sentiments upon the subject 
are already known, but yet I shall take the liberty to add, that 
I think his complaint to be well founded and that his pay, con- 
sidering the important duties, risks of his office, by no means 
sufficient, and that the footing he seems to think it should be 
upon himself, appears just and reasonable. 

A proposition having been made long since to Genl Howe 
and agreed to by him, for an Exchange of Prisoners, in conse- 
quence of the Resolutions of Congress to that effect, I shall be 
extremely happy if you will give directions to the Committees 

30 On November 19 Congress resolved that one hundred 3-pounders, fifty 6-pound- 
ers, fifty 12-pounders, thirteen 18-pounders, and thirteen 24-pounders, all of brass, be 
immediately provided for the armies of the United States. The Secret Committee was 
directed to procure them and that the " matter be kept as secret as the nature of the 
business will admit." (See Journals of the Continental Congress.) 

1776] TORY LADIES 283 

and those having the charge of Prisoners in the several states 
south of Jersey, to transmit me proper Lists of the names of all 
the Commissioned Officers and of their Ranks and the Corps 
they belong to; also the number of the Non Commissioned and 
Privates and their respective Regiments. You will perceive by 
his Letter he supposes me to have affected some delay or to 
have been unmindful 1 of the Proposition I had made. 

I propose to stay in this neighbourhood a few days, in which 
time I expect the designs of the Enemy will be more dis- 
closed, and their Incursions be made in this quarter, or their 
investiture of Fort Washington, if they are intended. 31 I have 
the honor &c. 32 


Genl. Green's Quarters, November 15, 1776. 
Gentlemen: On Wednesday evening I received the favor of 
your letter of the 8th Instt., 33 in consequence of which, I stopped 
the Flagg that was going in with the Ladies you mention, 
pointing out to them the necessity of the measure and recom- 
mending them to write to their Husbands and connections to 
obtain Genl. How's assurances for the release of Mrs. Lewis 
and Mrs. Robinson 34 and her children with their baggage, as the 
condition on which they will be permitted to go in themselves. 
These terms I can only extend to Mrs. Barrow 35 and Mrs.Kempe 
who had never obtained my leave, Mrs. Watts had, and my 
promise that she should go in. The whole however were pre- 
pared to go when the Letter reached New Ark. The mode 
I have adopted seems most likely and the only proper one 

31 The draft, in the Washington Papers, in the writing of Harrison, is unfinished. 

32 In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 

33 This letter is in the Washington Papers. 

34 Mrs. Lewis, wife of Francis Lewis, a Signer of the Declaration of Independence; 
Mrs. Ann Robertson was her daughter. 

33 Mrs. Barrow was the wife of a British paymaster. 


to procure the enlargement of our Ladies which I wish for 
much. I am, etc. 36 


Henkenseck, November 15, 1776. 

Gentn: Having given my promise to Genl. Howe on his 
application, that Peter Jack, a Servant of Major Stewart, who 
was sent to Philadelphia with the Waldeckers and other pris- 
oners and who has nothing to do in the Military line, should 
be returned to his Master agreeable to the usage of War in 
such cases, I must take the liberty to request the favor of you, 
to have him conveyed to Genl. Greene by the earliest oppor- 
tunity that he may be forwarded to his Master in compliance 
with my promise. 

I also wish, that you would have all the British prisoners col- 
lected that you conveniently can and sent to me, as soon as 
possible, with the Hessian prisoners, that I may exchange them. 
The return of the latter I think will be attended with many 
salutary consequences, but should It be made without that of a 
large proportion of other Troops, It will carry the marks of 
design, and occasion precautions to be taken to prevent the 
ends we have in view. I have the Honor, etc. 36 


General Greene's Quarters, November 16, 1776. 

Sir: Since I had the honor of addressing you last, an impor- 
tant Event has taken place, of which I wish to give you the 
earliest Intelligence. 

The preservation of the Passage of the North River, was an 
Object of so much consequence, that I thought no pains or 
Expence too great for that purpose, and therefore after sending 

^In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 



off all the Valuable stores, except such as were necessary for its 
Defence, I determined agreeable to the Advice of the most of 
the General Officers, to risque something to defend the Post 
on the East Side call'd Mount Washington. 37 When the Army 
moved up, in Consequence of Genl. Howe's landing at Frog 
Point, Colo. Magaw was left in that Command, with about 
1200 Men, and orders given to defend it to the last. Afterwards, 
reflecting upon the smallness of the Garrison and the Difficulty 
of their holding it, if Genl. Howe should fall down upon it 
with his whole Force, I wrote to Genl. Greene who had the 
Command on the Jersey Shore, directing him to govern him- 
self by Circumstances, and to retain or evacuate the Post, as he 
should think best, and revoking the absolute Order to Colo. 
Magaw to defend the post to the last Extremity; Genl. Greene 
struck with the Importance of the Post, and the Discourage- 
ment which our Evacuation of Posts must necessarily have 
given, reinforced Colo Magaw with Detachments from several 
Regiments of the Flying Camp, but chiefly of Pennsylvania, so 
as to make up the Number about 2000. In this situation, things 
were Yesterday, when General Howe demanded the Surren- 
der of the Garrison, to which Col. Magaw returned a spir- 
ited refusal. 38 Immediately upon receiving an Account of this 

37 On the night of November 14, 30 flatboats were sent to Kings Bridge by the 
British, who ferried their troops over the Harlem River the next day and marched 
upon Fort Washington. 

38 Colonel Magaw returned the following answer to Lieut. Col. Stephen Kemble, 
adjutant general of the British Army, who sent him the summons to surrender the 
fort: "Sir, If I rightly understand the purport of your message from Gen: Howe, com- 
municated to Colonel Swoope, ' this post is to be immediately surrendered or the garri- 
son put to the sword.' I rather think it a mistake, than a settled resolution in General 
Howe, to act a part so unworthy of himself and the British nation. But give me leave 
to assure his excellency, that, actuated by the most glorious cause that mankind ever 
fought in, I am determined to defend this post to the very last extremity." 

The copy of this reply was immediately sent across the river to General Greene, and 
inclosed in the following note from him to General Washington, who was then at 
Hackensack, N. J.: "Inclosed you have a letter from Col. Magaw. The contents will 
require your Excellency's attention. I have directed Col. Magaw to defend the place 
until he hears from me. I have ordered General Herd's brigade to hasten on. I shall 
go to the Island soon. Fort Lee, 4 o'clock." 

A copy of Magaw's reply, in his writing and signed by him, is in the Washington Papers. 


transaction, I came from Hackensack to this place, and had 
partly cross'd the North River, when I met Genl. Putnam and 
Genl. Greene, who were just returning from thence, and in- 
formed me that the Troops were in high Spirits and would 
make a good Defence, and it being late at night I returned. 

Early this Morning Colo. Magaw posted his Troops partly in 
the Lines thrown up by our Army on our first coming thither 
from New York, and partly on a commanding Hill laying 
North of Mount Washington (the Lines being all to the South- 
ward) In this position the attack began about Ten O'Clock, 
which our Troops stood, and returned the Fire in such a Man- 
ner as gave me great Hopes the Enemy was intirely repulsed. 
But at this Time a Body of Troops cross'd Harlem River in 
Boats and landed inside of the second Lines, our Troops being 
then engaged in the first. Colo. Cadwalader who commanded 
in the Lines sent off a Detachment to oppose them, but they 
being overpowred by numbers gave way, upon which Colo. 
Cadwallader ordered his Troops to retreat, in order to gain the 
Fort; It was done with much Confusion, and the Enemy cross- 
ing over came in upon them in such a Manner that a number 
of them surrendered. At this time the Hessians advanced on 
the North Side of the Fort in very large Bodies, they were re- 
ceived by the Troops posted there with proper Spirit and kept 
back a Considerable time. But at length they were also obliged 
to submit to a superiority of numbers and retire under the can- 
non of the Fort. The Enemy having advanced thus far, halted 
and immediately a Flag went in with a Repetition of the de- 
mand of the Fortress as I suppose. 39 At this time I sent a Billet to 
Col Magaw, directing him to hold out, and I would endeavour 
this Evening to bring off the Garrison, if the Fortress could not 

39 According to Sparks, General Howe in his public dispatch stated that Colonel 
Rahl had brought his column within ioo yards of the fort when he summoned it to 
surrender, and a treaty was acceded to by Colonel Magaw. 



be maintained, as I did not expect it could, the Enemy being 
possessed of the adjacent Ground. But before this reached him, 
he had entered too far into a Treaty to retract. After which, 
Colo.Cadwallader told another messenger who went over, that 
they had been able to obtain no other Terms than to surrender 
as Prisoners of War. 40 In this situation Matters now stand. I have 
stopped Genl. Beall's and Genl. Heard's Brigades to preserve 
the Post and Stores here, which with the other Troops I hope 
we shall be able to effect. 

I dont yet know the number of killed and wounded on either 
Side, but from the heaviness and Continuance of Fire in some 
places, I imagine there must have been considerable Execution. 41 

The Loss of such a number of Officers and Men, many of 
whom have been trained with more than common attention, 
will I fear be severely felt. But when that of the Arms and Ac- 
coutrements is added, much more so, and must be a farther 
Incentive to procure as considerable a Supply as possible for the 
New Troops, as soon as it can be done. I have &c. 42 


General Greene's Quarters, November 16, 1776. 
Gentn. : I do myself the honor to transmit to you, a Copy of 
Sundry Resolves of Congress which came to hand yesterday 

40 They were required to surrender as prisoners of war, giving up their arms, ammu- 
nition, and stores of every kind; but the men in the garrison were allowed to keep 
possession of their baggage and the officers to retain their swords. — Spares. 

"The British loss was in the neighborhood of 500 in killed and wounded. Their 
official report is printed in Force's American Archives, Fifth Series, vol. 3, 1056— 
1057; their return of ordnance and stores captured is on page 1058. The American 
loss was placed at about 150 in killed and wounded. The Committee on Foreign 
Affairs of Congress wrote to the United States Commissioners at Paris, Dec. 30, 1776, 
that 2,634 prisoners had been taken and 43 guns, with ammunition, stores, etc. 
According to the table of prisoners compiled by the British commissary of prisoners 
and sent by Howe to Washington for exchange negotiations, the total was 2,818. 
This table is printed by Sparks in his Writings of Washington, vol. 4, p. 547. 

"The draft is in the writing of Joseph Reed and Tench Tilghman; the letter sent is 
in that of Tilghman. 


evening. By these you will perceive, that they have entered in 
to some new regulations respecting the Inlistment of the new 
Army, and reprobating the measures, which I presume you 
have heard, have been adopted by the State of Massachusetts 
Bay, for raising the Quota to be furnished by them : My view in 
doing this, is to inform you of their sense upon this Subject, and 
that they will admit of no departure from the Terms they 
themselves have heretofore published, except in the instances 
which are mentioned in these Resolves; they are plain and ex- 
plicit, and I will take the Liberty to add, should form a part of 
the Instructions to be given to the Officers, who may be ap- 
pointed to recruit. 

I would also beg leave to observe that the necessity of raising 
the new army, becomes more and more urgent, and is such, as 
calls for every possible exertion to effect it. 43 

The Congress convinced of this and seeing the delays of 
some of the States, in carrying the Resolves recommended to 
them into execution, have impowred and required me, to nom- 
inate officers to the Regiments of such States, as have not sent 
Commissioners to the Army, for that purpose. As this is a 
Matter in which I would not wish to interfere at this time, far- 
ther than compelled by their direction and the situation of our 
affairs, I shall be happy to know what progress you have made 
in this Instance, and whether the arrangement for your Regi- 
ments is compleated. If it is not finished, let me intreat you to 
do it, as speedily as possible. — The necessity is obvious and must 
be felt by every one; till the officers are appointed, no measures 
for enlisting men can be pursued. If the bounty allowed by 
Congress, could be paid down, it is more than probable, it 

43 At this point in the draft is stricken out " exertion on the part of the Several States. 
The dissolution of the present, is fast approaching, nay the departure of a large por- 
tion of It, is on the Eve of taking place. These facts are all known, but yet seem not 
to be sufficiently attended to." 


might induce many to engage more readily, under this Idea 
I shall be ready to advance, to such officers as you appoint to the 
Command of the Regiments, upon your requisition, such 
sums of Money as may be sufficient for that purpose, If provi- 
sion has not been, or shall not be otherwise made by Congress 
for the same. 

I am sorry to inform you that this day about 12 O'Clock the 
Enemy made a General Attack upon our Lines about Fort 
Washington; which having carried, the Garrison retired 
within the Fort, Colo Magaw, finding there was no possibility 
of a Retreat across the North River, over to Fort Lee, surren- 
dered the Post. We do not yet know our own loss or that of the 
Enemy in forcing the Lines; but I imagine it must have been 
considerable on both sides, as the Fire in some Parts was of long 
continuance and heavy; neither do I know the Terms of Ca- 
pitulation. The Force of the Garrison before the Attack was 
about 2000 Men. I have the honor to be, etc. 44 


Genl. Greene's Quarters, November 16, 1776. 

Dear Sir: You will perceive, by the inclosed Resolves, that 
Congress have entered into some new Regulations respecting 
the Inlistment of the New Army, and reprobating the measures 
adopted by the State of Massachusets Bay, for raising then- 
Quota of Men. 

As every possible exertion should be used for recruiting the 
Army as speedily as may be, I request that you immediately 
publish in Orders, that an allowance of a Dollar and one third 
of a Dollar will be paid to the Officers for every Soldier they 
shall inlist, whether in or out of Camp. Also, that it will be 
optional in the Soldiers to inlist during the continuance of the 

"The draft is in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison and Tench Tilghman. 


war, or for three Years, unless sooner discharged by Congress. 
In the former case, they are to receive all such bounty and pay 
as have been heretofore mentioned in Orders. Those who en- 
gage for the latter time, (that of three years) are not to receive 
the bounty in Land. That no mistakes may be made, you will 
direct the Recruiting Officers from your Division, to provide 
two distinct Inlisting Rolls, One for those to sign who engage 
during the war, the other for those who inlist for three years, 
if their service shall be so long requested. 45 

# # # # #46 

Before I left Peeks Kill I urged to General Heath the Neces- 
sity of securing the pass thro' the High Lands next to the River, 
as well on that as this side, and to the Forts above; But as the 
preserving of those and others which lay more Easterly and 
which are equally essential, is a matter of the last importance, 
I must beg you to turn your attention that way, and to have 
such measures adopted for their defence, as your Judgment 
shall suggest to be necessary. I do not mean to advise the 
abandoning your present post, contrary to your own Opinion, 

^Congress continued to urge upon the States the pressing necessity for raising 
troops. On November 19 it was resolved that it was " necessary upon every prin- 
ciple of propriety, to remind the several states, how indispensable it is to the common 
safety, that they pursue the most immediate and vigorous measures to furnish their 
respective quotas of troops for the new army, as the time of service, for which the 
present army was inlisted, is so near expiring, that the country may be left in a con- 
dition in a great measure defenceless, unless quickly supplied by new levies." On 
November 21, as the necessity was so evident and pressing, Congress authorized each 
State to enlist men either for the war or three years, without presenting enlisting rolls 
for both terms, " keeping it always in view, that, in the opinion of Congress, the 
public service will be best promoted by inlistments for the war, if the recruiting busi- 
ness is not retarded thereby." On November 22 the matter was again considered, 
some parts of the army being already disbanded, and there being " danger that the 
enemy must be opposed either by unequal numbers, or by militia, not only a more ex- 
pensive but a less efficacious aid than regular forces; and there being good grounds to 
hope that vigorous efforts at this critical juncture, may bring the war to a speedy as 
well as a happy conclusion." Washington was sent blank commissions and empow- 
ered to fill them in as he thought fit and to speed the recruiting by all means in his 
power. William Paca, John Witherspoon, and George Ross were appointed to go to 
headquarters to consult with the General on the delay of pay and other grievances of 
the soldiers. 

**The omitted paragraph relating the loss of Fort Washington is the same as that 
in Washington's letter to the New York Legislature, Nov 16, 1776, q. v. 


but only to mention my Ideas of the importance of those passes, 
and that you cannot give too much attention to their Security, 
by having Works erected in the most advantageous places for 
that purpose. I am &c. 

P. S. The inclosed Letter for Governor Trumbull 47 you will 
please to transmit by the first Opportunity. 48 


General Greene's Quarters, November 17, 1776. 

Sir: With much concern I beg leave to inform you of an 
unfortunate event that has taken place. * * * 49 The impor- 
tance of the North River, and the sanguine wishes of all to pre- 
vent the enemy from possessing it, have been the causes of this 
unhappy catastrophe. I have the honour etc. 

P. S. You will be pleased to transmit this intelligence to 
Governour Cooke, with a requisition to him to send it to the 
Massachusetts State. 

As an exchange of prisoners must be naturally desired by 
both parties, I shall be glad to know if those in your State are 
ready, and of your sentiments, by the earliest opportunity, as to 
the mode, whether it will be best by water or by land. 50 


Hackensack, November 18, 1776. 
Dear Sir: I just now received the favor of your Letter of the 
17th, 51 1 confess, I did not expect that any Warrants would have 
been presented to you for payment, except those which I signed 

* T The letter for Governor Trumbull is that of Nov. 17, 1776, q. v. 

^The draft is by Robert Hanson Harrison. Precisely the same letter was sent to 
Maj. Gen. William Heath with a P. S. directing that the resolves be sent to each of 
his colonels "that no mistakes may happen." 

49 The omitted paragraph, regarding the capture of Fort Washington, is identical 
with that in Washington's letter to the New York Legislature, Nov. 16, 1776, q. v. 

B0 The text is from Force's American Archives. 

B1 Major Generals Lee and Heath claimed the right to draw warrants. Paymaster 
General Palfrey's letter, dated Nov. 17, 1776, is in the Washington Papers. 


myself. The Inconveniences which might arise, if several per- 
sons in the same Army were allowed to draw, are obvious and 
such as might produce great uneasiness and injustice to the 
Public. All who applied to me, were told, that the Abstracts 
were to be deposited with you and sent down in order to be 
signed by me at once, or that they would be compleated by my 
signature, if brought at different times. I cannot allow double 
pay to Major Lee 52 or any other Officer. It is expressly against 
the Resolves of Congress. The Militia will be paid on making 
out proper Abstracts and such as are Satisfactory to you, as 
other Troops are. You must inform their Officers, that they 
should be very particular in not charging for a longer time 
than the men were in actual Service, and the abstracts should 
be certified by their Brigadiers or Colos. Commandants. 

As I cannot conceive it will be for the public good, that 
warrants should be drawn by different Officers and to prevent 
further mistakes on that account, I request that you will remove 
your Office near my Head Quarters, and pay no Warrants here- 
after but such as come from me, giving notice of your removal. 
I shall mention to Congress the demands that will be on you, 
desiring that provision may be made for the same. I am &c. 53 


Hackinsac, November 19, 1776. 54 


Hackensack, November 19, 1776. 
Sir: I have not been yet able, to obtain a particular account of 
the unhappy affair of the 16th, nor of the Terms on which the 
Garrison surrendered. The Intelligence that has come to hand, 

62 Maj. William Raymond Lee, of the Fourteenth Continental Infantry. 

53 The draft is in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 

04 See letter to John Augustine Washington, Nov. 6, 1776, ante. 


is not so full and accurate as I could wish. One of the Artillery, 
and whose information is most direct, who escaped on Sunday 
night says the Enemy's loss was very considerable, especially 
in the attack made above the Fort by the Division of Hessians 
that Marched from Kingsbridge, and where Lieut. Colo Raw- 
lings 55 of the late Colo. Stevenson's Regiment was posted. They 
burnt Yesterday one or two Houses on the Heights and contig- 
uous to the Fort, and appeared by advices from Genl. Greene, to 
be moving in the evening, their Main Body down towards the 
City. Whether they will close the Campaign without attempt- 
ing something more, or make an incursion into Jersey must be 
determined by the events themselves. 

As Fort Lee was always considered, as only necessary in con- 
junction with that on the East side of the River, to preserve the 
Communication across, and to prevent the Enemy from a free 
Navigation, It has become of no importance by the loss of the 
other, or not so material, as to employ a force for its defence. 
Being viewed in this, light and apprehending that the stores 
there, would be precariously situated, their removal has been 
determined on, to Boundbrook above Brunswick, Prince Town, 
Springfield and Acquackinac Bridge, as places that will not be 
subject to sudden danger in case the Enemy should pass the 
River, and which have been thought proper, as repositories for 
our Stores of Provisions and Forage. 56 The Troops belonging 
to the Flying Camp under Genls. Heard and Beal, with what 
remains of Genl. Ewing's Brigade, are now at Fort Lee, where 

Oo Lieut. Col. Moses Rawlings, of Stephenson's rifle regiment. He was wounded 
and taken prisoner at Fort Washington, N. Y.; colonel of one of the 16 Additional 
Continental regiments in January, 1777; resigned in June, 1779. 

M Sir William Howe's letter to Lord George Germain (November 30) describes the 
British military movements from the landing on Frogs Point to the capture of Fort 
Lee and the beginning of the pursuit of Washington through New Jersey. Of Fort Lee, 
he wrote that Admiral Howe sent boats to Kings Bridge the night of November 17, 
and the troops were ferried across the Hudson the 18th and landed undiscovered 
about 7 miles above Fort Lee at 10 o'clock a. m. "Lord Cornwallis immediately 
began his march, and had not the enemy at Fort Lee been apprised of his moving 
towards them by a countryman, after he had proceeded some distance, he would 


they will continue till the stores are got away. By the time that 
is effected, their term of inlistment will be near expiring, and 
if the Enemy should make a push in this Quarter, the only 
Troops that there will be to oppose them, will be Hand's, Haz- 
let's; the Regiments from Virginia 57 that lately Smallwood's, 
the latter greatly reduced by the losses it sustained on Long 
Island &c. and sickness, nor are the rest by any means com- 
plete. In addition to these, I am told there are a few of the 
Militia of this State, which have been called in by Governor 
Livingston. I shall make such a disposition of the whole at 
Brunswick and at the intermediate Posts, as shall seem most 
likely to guard against the designs of the Enemy and to prevent 
them making an Irruption or foraging with detached Parties. 
The Inclosed letter from Cols. Miles 58 and Atlee, 59 will shew 
Congress the distressed situation of our Prisoners in New 
York, and will become greater every day, by the cold, inclem- 
ent Season that is approaching. It will be happy, if some expe- 
dient can be adopted by which they may be furnished with 
necessary Blankets and Cloathing. Humanity and the good 
of the service require it. I think the mode suggested by these 
Gentlemen for establishing a credit, appears as likely to suc- 
ceed, and as eligible, as any that occurs to me. It is probable 
Many Articles that may be wanted, can be obtained there and 
upon better Terms than elsewhere. In respect to provision, 
their allowance perhaps is as good as the Situation of Genl. 

have surrounded two thousand men at the fort, who escaped in the utmost confusion, 
leaving all their artillery and a large quantity of stores and provisions, their tents 
standing, and kettles upon the fire." 

"The draft says "the five Virginia Regiments." 

**Col. Samuel Miles, of a Pennsylvania rifle regiment. He was taken prisoner on 
Long Island, N. Y.; exchanged in April, 1778; brigadier general, Pennsylvania State 
troops. His letter, dated Nov. 10, 1776, is in the Washington Papers. 

59 Col. Samuel John Atlee, of the Pennsylvania Musket Battalion. He was wounded 
and taken prisoner at Long Island, N. Y.; exchanged in August, 1778; did not 
reenter the service. . His letter, dated Nov. 9, 1776, is in the Washington Papers. A 
joint letter from both Miles and Atlee was undated. It is in the Washington Papers 
under date of November, 1776. 

1776] LOSS AT FORT LEE 295 

How's Stores will admit of. It has been said of late by deserters 
and others, that they were rather scant. 

By a letter from the Paymaster General of the 17th he says 
there will be a necessity that large and early remittances should 
be made him. The demands, when the Troops now in service 
are dismissed, will be extremely great, besides the bounty to 
recruits requires a large supply and he adds, that the Commis- 
sary Genl. has informed him, that between this and the last of 
December he shall have occasion for a Million of Dollars. 

November 21. 

The unhappy affair of the 16th has been succeeded by fur- 
ther Misfortunes. 

Yesterday Morning a large body of the Enemy landed be- 
tween Dobb's Ferry and Fort Lee. 60 Their object was evidently 
to inclose the whole of our Troops and stores that lay between 
the North and Hackensac Rivers, which form a very narrow 
neck of Land. For this purpose they formed and Marched, as 
soon as they had ascended the High Grounds towards the Fort. 
Upon the first information of their having landed and of their 
movements, our men were ordered to meet them, but finding 
their numbers greatly superior and that they were extending 
themselves to seize on the passes over the River, It was thought 
proper to withdraw our Men, which was effected and their 
retreat secured. 61 We lost the whole of the Cannon that was at 
the Fort except two twelve pounders, and a great deal of bag- 
gage, between two and three hundred Tents, — about a thou- 
sand Barrels of Flour and other stores in the Quarter Master's 
Department. This loss was inevitable, As many of the stores 
had been removed, as circumstances and time would admit of. 

60 Grayson, in his letter of November 20 to General Lee, written by Washington's 
direction, described the landing place as Closter Dock, "nearly opposite to Philip's 
house." He added: "His Excellency thinks it would be adviseable in you to remove 
the Troops under you Command on this side of the North River and there wait for 
farther Order." This letter is in the Washington Papers. 

81 The draft says "over Hackinsac Bridge." 


The Ammunition had been happily got away. Our present 
situation between Hackensac and Posaic Rivers, being exactly 
similar to our late one, and our force here by no means ade- 
quate to an Opposition, that will promise the smallest proba- 
bility of Success, we are taking measures to retire over the 
Waters of the latter, when the best dispositions will be formed, 
that Circumstances will admit of. 

By Colo. Cadwalader 62 who has been permitted by General 
Howe to return to his Friend. 63 I am informed the surrender 
of the Garrison on the 16th was on the common terms, as pris- 
oners of War. The loss of the Hessians about Three hundred 
Privates and Twenty Seven Officers, Killed and Wounded, 
about forty of the British Troops and two or three Officers. 
The loss on our side but inconsiderable. I beg leave to refer you 
to him for a more particular account and also for his relation 
of the distresses of our Prisoners. Colo. Miles and Atlee's Let- 
ter, mentioned above upon this subject, was thro mistake sent 
from hence yesterday evening. The mode of relief proposed 
by them, was a Credit or supply of Cash, thro' the means of 
Mr. Franks. 64 This seems to be doubtful, as he is said to be in 
Confinement by Colo Cadwalader, provided it would have 
been otherwise practicable. 

P. S. Your favor of the 16th. was duly received. My Letter 
to the Board of War 65 on the subject of the return of the Wal- 
deckers I presume you will have seen. 66 

82 Col. Lambert Cadwalader was a native of New Jersey but colonel of the Fourth 
Pennsylvania Regiment. He had been captured at Fort Washington, N. Y., and after 
his release resigned from the Army. He was a Delegate from New Jersey to the Con- 
tinental Congress, 1 784-1 787, and a Member of the United States House of Repre- 
sentatives, 1789-1791, 1793-1795. He died in 1823. 

63 Colonel Cadwalader was immediately released without parole by Sir William 
Howe, at the instance of General Prescott, who, when a prisoner in Philadelphia, 
had received civilties from Colonel Cadwalader's father. — Spares. 

64 David Franks, British commissary of prisoners. 

""The letter to the Board of War is that of Nov. 15, 1776, q. v. On November 15 
Congress had given Washington "leave to negotiate an exchange of the foreign troops 
in the pay of Great Britain, that are prisoners to these states." 

66 In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison, who also wrote the draft. 



Head Quarters, November 21, 1776. 

Sir : I am favoured with yours of the 9th. instant, I can so well 
conceive, the desire that persons in captivity must feel for releas- 
ment, and a return to their friends, that I do not wonder at your 
anxious endeavours to procure your own. If Mr. Thomas Irving 
receiver Genl. of South Carolina (who I do not look upon in 
the military line) can receive any assurance from Genl. Howe, 
that he will exchange you for him, I certainly can have no ob- 
jection. This proposition cannot with propriety go from me to 
Genl. Howe ; because by the terms of our Cartel, exchanges can 
only be proposed between Officers of equal Rank, but either 
side may deviate from the Rule if they please, as was the case of 
Governor Brown for Brigadier Lord Stirling. If therefore, you 
and Mr. Irving can obtain Genl. Howe's consent for your recip- 
rocal Exchange, I will immediately upon receiving his appro- 
bation of the measure, send for Mr. Irving from Connecticut. 

In Consequence of a joint Letter from you and Colo. Miles, 
respecting the deplorable condition of our prisoners in New 
York, for want of cloaths and other necessaries, I have laid the 
matter before Congress, and have recommended it to them, to 
provide a proper Fund for their Support. As to the scanty al- 
lowance of Provisions, I would hope that it proceeded from the 
State of General Howe's Stores and not from any desire in him 
to add Famine to the misfortune of Captivity. I am &c. 6T 


Hackensack, November 21, 1776. 
Dear General: It must be painful to you as well as to us to 
have no news to send you, but of a melancholy nature. Yesterday 

6 The draft is by Tench Tilghman. On November 25 Washington wrote again 
practically the same letter to Atlee, probably because, not having his papers to consult, 
he did not recall having answered Atlee's letter of November 9. 


Morning the Enemy landed a large Body of Troops below 
Dobb's Ferry, and advanced very rapidly to the Fort called by 
your Name. I immediately went over and as the Fort was not 
tenable on this side, [and we in a narrow Neck of Land, the 
passes out of which the Enemy were attempting to sieze], 
directed the Troops consisting of Beall's, Heard's, the remain- 
der of E wing's Brigades, and some other parts of broken Regi- 
ments, to move over to the West side of Hackensack River. 
A considerable Quantity of Stores and some Artillery have 
fallen into their Hands. We have no Account of their move- 
ments this Morning, but as this Country is almost a dead Flat, 
we have not an Intrenching Tool, and not above 3000 Men, 
and they much broken and dispirited, not only with our ill 
success, but the Loss of their Tents and Baggage; I have re- 
solved to avoid any Attack, tho' by so doing I must leave a very 
fine Country open to their Ravages, or a plentiful Store House, 
from which they will draw voluntary Supplies. 

Your favor of the 19th. is just some to Hand. I approve of 
your Step with respect to the Rhode Island Officers, as I am 
unacquainted with their Merits, I was obliged to leave the 
Determination of the matter much to Genl. Greene, hoping 
I confess, that he would make an Arrangement acceptable to 
his Countrymen; however, I am well satisfied with what you 
have done and must leave it upon that footing. 

With respect to your Situation, I am very much at a Loss 
what now to determine, there is such a Change of Circum- 
stances since the date of your Letter, as seems to call for a 
Change of Measures. Your Post undoubtedly will answer some 
important Purposes; but whether so many or so great as your 
Removal, is well worthy of Consideration. You observe, it pre- 
vents a fine fertile Country affording them supplies, but now 

1776] CALL FOR LEE 299 

they have one much more so and more contiguous. They have 
already traversed a part of that Country leaving little behind 
them, is it probable they will return, if not the distance must 
be too great in Winter time, to render it effectually serviceable. 
Upon the whole therefore, I am of Opinion and the Gentle- 
men about me concur in it, that the publick Interest requires 
your coming over to this side, with the Continental Troops, 
leaving Fellows's and Wadsworth's Brigades, to take care of 
the Stores during their Short stay, at the Expiration of which 
I suppose they will set out home. 68 

My reasons for this measure and which I think must have 
weight with you, are, that the Enemy are evidently changing 
the Seat of War to this side of the North River; that this Coun- 
try therefore, will expect the Continental Army to give what 
support they can and failing in this, will cease to depend upon 
or support a force from which no Protection is given to them. 
It is therefore of the utmost Importance, that at least an Ap- 
pearance of Force should be made, to keep this Province in the 
Connection with the others, if that should not continue, it is 
much to be feared, that its Influence on Pennsylvania would be 
very considerable, and more and more endanger our publick 
Interest. Unless therefore some new event should occur, or 
some more cogent reason present itself, I would have you move 
over by the easiest and best Passage. I am sensible your Num- 
bers will not be large and that perhaps it may not be agreeable 
to the Troops: as to the first, report will exaggerate them and 
preserve an Appearance of an Army, which will at least have 
an effect to encourage the disponding here; and as to the 
other, you will doubtless represent to them, that in duty and 

88 Lee, in a letter dated November 19, stated at length his objections to removing 
from North Castle, N. Y. This letter is in the Washington Papers and is printed by 
Sparks in Letters to Washington, vol. 1, p. 306. 


gratitude, their Service is due, wherever the Enemy make the 
greatest Impression, or seem to intend so to do. 

The Stores at North Castle, Croton Bridge and Kings Ferry, 
are to be removed to Peeks Kiln, so as to be under Genl. Heath's 
Eye, this we hope [there] will [be] Time and Means to do. 

Colo. Puttnam who has been surveying the Country, thinks 
the Bridge at Croton River a very important Place and that 
Troops would be necessary there, you will please to regard 
it accordingly, by leaving or ordering one Regiment there. 69 
I am, etc. 70 

89 Reed on this date (November 21) wrote a private letter to Lee and sent it with this 
one of Washington's. "The letter you will receive with this contains my sentiments 
with respect to your present situation. But besides this I have some additional reasons 
for wishing most earnestly to have you where the principal scene of action is laid." 
This injudicious and unconscious conceit on Reed's part was productive of trouble for 
Washington. Lee's colossal egotism and vanity had already been vastly nurtured by 
the unmerited praise and adulation he had received from the first moment of his join- 
ing the Continental Army. It was partially the colonial habit of mind to exaggerate 
the merit and skill of all British military men and partially the deliberate purpose of 
a political faction opposed to Washington. Lee, separated from the main army, in 
something of an independent station was already developing his purpose of securing 
an independent command, with the ultimate hope of superseding Washington. His 
thought was that only a few more misfortunes were needed and Washington would 
be disgraced. To prevent these misfortunes or to aid Washington in any way was not 
part of Lee's plan. His delay in marching to reenforce Washington was purposeful. 
If the Commander in Chief's troops deserted him, by reason of the expiration of their 
enlistments, or if the British scattered the small force, Lee's army would be the most 
respectable body of troops left and the question of command would inevitably arise. 
Reed, as Adjutant General of the Continental Army, now assures him that Washing- 
ton's signed letter (which is in Reed's writing) is approved by Reed; he then continues: 
" I do not mean to flatter or praise you at the expense of any other, but I confess I do 
think it is entirely owing to you that this army, and the liberties of America, so far as 
they are dependent on it, are not totally cut off. You have decision, a quality often 
wanted in minds otherwise valuable, and I ascribe to this our escape from York Island, 
from Kingsbridge, and the Plains, and have no doubt had you been here the garrison 
of Mount Washington would now have composed part of this army. . . . Every 
gentleman of the family, the officers and soldiers generally, have a confidence in you — 
the enemy constantly inquire where you are, and seem to be less confident when you 
are present." Continuing, he attributed the loss of Fort Washington to the state of 
suspense in which Washington was thrown by the advice of General Greene. "Oh! 
General, an indecisive mind is one of the greatest misfortunes that can befall an army; 
how often have I lamented it this campaign. All circumstances considered, we are in 
a very awful and alarming situation — one that requires the utmost wisdom and firm- 
ness of mind. As soon as the season will admit, I think yourself and some others 
should go to Congress and form the plan of the new army, point out their defects to 
them, and it may possibly prevail on them to lend their whole attention to this great 

1776] REED AND LEE 301 


Aquackinack Bridge, November 21, 1776. 
Sir: I have this Moment arrived at this Place with Genl. 
Beall's and Genl. Heard's Brigades from Maryland and Jersey, 

subject, even to the exclusion of every other. ... I must conclude with my clear and 
explicit opinion that your presence is of the last importance." 

Such a letter to a megalomaniac could only be harmful, and it is as much of a 
revelation of Reed's state of mind as Lee's reply reveals his. 

Lee replied (November 24) : "Lament with you that fatal indecision of mind which 
in war is a much greater disqualification than stupidity, or even want of personal 
courage; accident may put a decisive blunderer in the right, but eternal defeat and 
miscarriage must attend the man of the best parts if cursed with indecision." Lee then 
speaks largely of attacking Maj. Robert Rogers's corps, and continues: "... I only 
wait myself for this business of Rogers and company being over. I shall then fly to 
you; for to confess a truth, I really think our chief will do better with me than with- 
out me." This letter was received at headquarters when Reed was absent at Burling- 
ton, and was opened by Washington under the belief that it was of a public nature. 
This chance could not but leave an unpleasant impression on the mind of the General, 
who sent the letter to Reed, and without a word of reproach explained the circum- 
stances that had made him see what "neither inclination nor intention would have 
prompted me to." In March, 1777, Reed undertook to explain the matter, saying that 
his own letter to Lee had " led to expressions and an answer which must have been 
disapproved by you, and which I was far from expecting." (See Washington's letter 
to Reed, June 14, 1777, post.) 

Lee had already written to Reed (November 21) that: "Withdrawing our troops 
from hence would be attended with some very serious consequences, which at present 
would be tedious to enumerate." But he did order Heath to send 2,000 men to cross 
the river, an order which Heath very properly declined to obey, pleading the positive 
instructions given him by Washington. The resulting correspondence still further 
explains Lee: "By your mode of reasoning," retorted Lee, "the General's injunctions 
are so binding that not a tittle must be broke through for the salvation of the General 
and the army. (See Lee's letter to Heath, Nov. 23, 1 776.) To this Heath replied: " Be 
my mode of reasoning as it may, I conceive it my duty to obey my instructions. . . . 
The least recommendation from him [Washington], to march my division or any 
part of them, over die river, should have been instantly obeyed, without waiting for 
a positive order. ... I shall strictly abide by them [his instructions] until they 
are countermanded in such manner, as will justify a deviation from them, to him who 
instructed me, and to the world." (See Heath's letter to Lee, Nov. 24, 1776.) "I sent 
Heath orders to transport two thousand men across the river . . . but that great man 
(as I might have expected) intrenched himself behind the letter of his instructions, 
and refused to part with a single file, tho' I undertook to replace 'em with a part of 
my own." (See Lee's letter to Washington, Nov. 24, 1776.) Washington informed 
Heath on the 25th that he' never meant to take troops from Heath's division. Lee's 
letter to Heath of the 26th should be read, and also Heath's Memoirs, under date 
Nov. 30, 1776. 

70 The draft is in the writing of Joseph Reed. He had written this phrase, "this we 
hope you will have Time and Means to do." The changes made by Washington are 


and part of General Ewing's 71 from Pennsylvania ; Three other 
Regiments, left to guard the Passes upon Hackensack River, 
and to serve as covering Parties, are expected up this Evening. 
After the unfortunate Loss of Fort Washington, it was deter- 
mined to evacuate Fort Lee, in a great Measure; as it was in a 
Manner useless in obstructing the Passage of the North River, 
without the assistance of Fort Washington. The Ammunition 
and some other Stores were accordingly removed ; but, before we 
could effect our purpose, the Enemy landed yesterday Morn- 
ing, in very considerable numbers, about Six Miles above the 
Fort; Their intent evidently was to form a line across, from 
the place of their landing to Hackensack Bridge, and thereby 
hem in the whole Garrison between the North and Hacken- 
sack Rivers. However, we were lucky enough to gain the 
Bridge before them; by which means we saved all our men, 
but were obliged to leave some hundred Barrels of Flour, most 
of our Cannon, and a considerable parcel of Tents and Bag- 
gage. Finding we were in the same danger of being pent up 
between Hackensack and Passaic Rivers, that we had been be- 
tween the North and Hackensack; and also finding the Coun- 
try, from its levelness and openess, unfit for making a stand ; it 
was determined to draw the whole of our Force over this side 
of the River, where we can watch the operations of the Enemy, 
without danger of their surrounding us, or making a Lodge- 
ment in our Rear. But, as our numbers are still very inadequate 
to that of the Enemy, I imagine I shall be obliged to fall down 
toward Brunswick, and form a juntion with the Troops, al- 
ready in that Quarter, under the Command of Lord Stirling. 
As the term of the Inlistment of the flying Camp, belonging to 
Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, is near expiring; it will 

1 Ford notes the confusion in Brig. Gen. James Ewing's name by different historians: 
Marshall spells it Irvine; Wilkinson, Irvin; Botta, Irwin; and Gordon, Erwing. 

1776] NEED OF TROOPS 303 

occasion so great a diminution of my Army, that I submit it to 
your judgment, whether it would not be proper for you to call 
together such a Number of Militia, as, in Conjunction with the 
Troops I shall have left, will serve to cover the Country and 
stop the Progress of the Enemy, if they should still attempt to 
penetrate. If the weather continues favorable, I am apprehen- 
sive they will attempt to make amends for the Slowness of 
their Operations the begining of the Campaign. I have the 
honor to be, etc. 72 


New Ark, November 23, 1776. 
Sir: I have not yet heard that any provision is making to 
supply the place of the Troops composing the Flying Camp, 
whose departure is now at hand. The situation of our Affairs is 
truly critical and such as requires uncommon exertions on our 
part. From the movements of the Enemy and the information 
we have received, they certainly will make a push to possess 
themselves of this part of the Jerseys. In order that you may be 
fully apprized of our Weakness and of the necessity there is of 
our obtaining early Succours, I have by the advice of the Gen- 
eral Officers here, directed Genl. Mifflin to wait on you. he is 
intimately acquainted with our Circumstances and will repre- 
sent them [make a] better than my hurried state will allow 
[representation of It, than I possibly can, hurried as I am] 78 
I have wrote to Genl. Lee [and Ordered him] to come over, 

"The draft is in the writing of Tench Tilghman. 

"An abstract of returns, showing the strength of the army at or near Newark to be 
5,410, accompanied this letter. It is in the writing of Adjt. Gen. Joseph Reed. Mifflin 
was admitted to an audience with Congress, sitting as a committee of the whole, on 
November 25. In a letter to Washington he reported the results. He represented the 
state of the army and "went as far in my Relation" as the sensibility of Congress "and 
my own Delicacy would justify." The resultant resolves will be found in the Journals 
of the Continental Congress of Nov. 25, 26, and 30, 1776. Mifflin's letter, dated Nov. 
26, 1776, is in the Washington Papers. 


with the Continental Regiments immediately under his com- 
mand; those with Genl. Heath I have ordered to secure the 
passes thro' the Highlands; I have also wrote to Govr. Liv- 
ingston requesting of him such aid as may be in his power, 
and would submit it to the consideration of Congress, whether 
application should not be made for part of the Pennsylvania 
Militia to step forth at this pressing time. 

Before I conclude, I would mention if an Early and immedi- 
ate Supply of money could be [immediately] sent to [the pay- 
master] Mr. Dalham 74 to pay the Flying Camp Troops, it 
might have [several valuable consequences; The flying Camp 
men would be paid and return satisfied and the public prob- 
ably would save something from their pay Rolls being made 
out here] a happy effect. They would subsist themselves com- 
fortably on their return; provide many necessaries of which 
they are in great want, and more over, It might be the means of 
inducing many after seeing Their friends to engage again. 

I expected on coming here to have met with many of the 
Militia, but find from inquiry that there are not more than 
from four to five Hundred in the different posts. I have the 
honor, etc. 75 


Head Quarters, New Ark, November 23, 1776. 
Sir: The Critical Situation of our affairs and the movements 
of the Enemy make some further and immediate exertions ab- 
solutely necessary. In order that you may have the fullest Rep- 
resentation and form a perfect Idea of what is now necessary, 

74 Richard Dallam, deputy paymaster general of the Flying Camp. 

"Both the draft and the letter sent are in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 
The parts in brackets show the draft as first composed; these were omitted in the 
letter sent. A comparison of the draft with the letter sent has value as a study of 
the secretarial work at headquarters. 


I have desired Col. Reed to wait on you, and must refer you to 
him for particulars. I am etc. 


New Ark, November 24, 1776. 

Dear Sir: I wrote you this morning of the probability, that 
some of your letters to me, had fallen, with the mail, into the 
Enemy's hands; my apprehensions on that head, have been 
since confirmed, by direct Intelligence from their Camp, I am 
informed that a letter from you, is confidently said to have 
come to their hands, and that measures are taking to intercept 
your march : To prevent them from effecting this object, I have 
judged it proper to acquaint you, of this accident, and of their 
design; at the same time, I must request, that you will take 
every precaution, to come by a safe and secure route. I am told, 
by those who have an intimate Knowledge of the Country, that 
after you leave Haverstraw, the western road by Kakiate will 
be proper for you to take; But I will not undertake to prescribe 
any one in particular, only observing, that you will by all 
means, keep between the Enemy and the Mountains. 

Before I conclude, I would wish you to leave under the care 
of Genl. Heath, the two twelve pounders, on travelling car- 
riages; they will be safe with him at Peek's Kill. The Brass 
twenty four, I would have you bring, provided, it can be done, 
without great inconvenience. 

I need not urge the necessity of your gaining Intelligence of 
the Enemy's situation, in the course of your march, I will 
be silent on that head, nor need I mention the propriety of 
your sending frequent expresses, to advise of your approaches. 
Hoping and trusting that your arrival will be safe and happy, 
I am etc. 

P. S. The expresses should come by the western road, oth- 
erwise they may fall in with the Enemy. Inclosed you will 


receive a copy of sundry Resolves of Congress, which you will 
publish in Orders. 76 


New Ark, November 24, 1776. 

Dear Sir: By the negligent and infamous conduct of the Post 
rider, the Eastern Mail of Friday was brought to Hackensack 
and there stopped to fall into the hands of the Enemy. Of this 
event, I have thought it proper to give you the earliest notice, 
supposing the Mail may have contained some Letters from you 
of a public nature, that you may guard against any advantages 
the Enemy may expect to derive from this accident. 

From your Letter to Colo. Reed, you seem to have mistaken 
my views intirely, in ordering Troops from Genl. Heath to 
cross Hudson's River to this side. The importance of the posts 
and passes thro' the High Lands, is so infinitely great, that 
I never thought there should be the least possible risk of loos- 
ing 'em. Colo. Reed's second Letter, will have sufficiently ex- 
plained my intention upon this Subject, and pointed out to you, 
that it was your division I want to have over. As the Enemy 
have possessed themselves of the usual route by Dobb's Ferry 
and Hackensack, it will be necessary that you should be careful 
in choosing some back way, in which you and your Troops may 
come secure. I doubt not, but they will take measures to inter- 
cept you and therefore am induced to request your caution; 
I also wish you to send me frequent expresses on your march, 
that I may know how to direct it and how to provide for the 
same. I am &c." 

"The draft is in the writing of William Grayson and Tench Tilghman. 

"The draft is in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. The first paragraph of 
this letter to Lee was also sent (November 24) as a letter to Heath. It is printed in the 
Massachusetts Historical Society Collections (Heath, Winthrop, Warren papers), 
Fifth Series, vol. 4. 

Ford prints the text somewhat differently and adds the following: "P. S. I have 
received your favor of the 20th and feel with you the distresses of the army for want 
of necessary cloathing and covering. I have pointed this out to Congress several 



Head Quarters at New Ark, November 24, 1776. 
Sir : Having received Information, that there is danger of an 
Insurrection of Tories in the County of Monmouth, and it 
being highly necessary that the most speedy check should be 
given to a measure of so pernicious a Tendency; you are 
hereby ordered to march, with the Regiment under your Com- 
mand, into the said County of Monmouth, and on your arrival 
there, you are authorized to apprehend all such persons, as 
from good Information appear to be concerned in any plot or 
design against the Liberty or Safety of the United States. And 
you are further authorized, immediately to attack any Body of 
Men whom you may find actually assembled or in Arms for 
the purpose aforesaid; and if you should find their numbers 
Superior to your Force, you have full Authority to call in and 
take the command of such a Number of Militia of the State of 
New Jersey, as you may judge sufficient. I would recommend 
to you to be cautious in proceeding against any, but such as you 
have the fullest Grounds of Suspicion, and not suffer your men 
to give the least Molestation to the property of any in the 
Course of your march. If you find any Stock of Cattle or Pro- 
vision that you may judge in danger of falling into the Hands 
of the Enemy, you are first to desire the Inhabitants to remove 
them, and upon their refusal, you are to have it done yourself, 
giving the Owner's Certificates of the Quantity, that they may, 
if they please, call upon the Quarter Master or Commissary 
General for pay. 79 

times. How to remedy it, I know not. From the number of prizes taken at the 
eastward, I should suppose the troops from thence could have been much better pro- 
vided with necessaries than from the more southern States, where they have not the 
same advantages of an open navigation." He does not state his source. 

,8 Of a New Jersey State regiment. He was colonel of one of the 16 Additional Con- 
tinental regiments from January, 1777, to July, 1778, and afterwards brigadier general 
of New Jersey Militia. 

79 The draft is in the writing of Tench Tilghman. 



Head Quarters, November 25, 1776. 

Sir: I lately had the pleasure of a letter from you, but I am 
unable to answer it, as particularly as I could wish, for want of 
the letter itself, having sent it forward among other Papers. 
From the best of my Recollection, you mention, that, you had 
reason to beleive that an Exchange might be procured of John 
Foxchaft Esqr. for yourself and of Mr Dashwood for Colo. 
Piper, 80 and another Gentleman, whose name I do not remem- 
ber, for Lieut. De Courcy. 81 If you can obtain Genl. Howe's 
Assent to these several Exchanges, I shall on my part most 
readily comply; but as the Gentlemen, you have mentioned, 
are not in the Military Line, the proposal cannot with propriety 
go from me, as by the Terms of our Cartel, Officers of equal 
Rank are only to be proposed for each other: But Genl. Howe 
has dispensed with this Rule in one Instance, by giving up Brig- 
adier Genl. Lord Stirling, for Govr. Brown, tho' not belonging 
to the Army, and if he pleases again to accept of Gentlemen in 
the Civil Department, for those in the Military, I, as I said 
before, shall have no Objection. 

I have in a Letter to Colo. Atlee, taken notice of a joint Letter 
from yourself and him, respecting the miserable State of our 
prisoners in New York, for want of Cloaths and Necessaries, 
I have wrote to Congress on the Subject, recommending it to 
them, to procure a proper Credit in New York for their Supply, 
but I have not yet received an Answer from them. 82 I am &c. 

80 Col. John Piper, of the Pennsylvania Militia. 

81 Lieut. Edward De Courcy, of Veazey's Independent Maryland company. He had 
been taken prisoner at Long Island, N. Y., and was not exchanged until September, 

82 The draft is in the writing of Tench Tilghman. 

On November 26, Robert Hanson Harrison, by direction of Washington, wrote to 
General Schuyler, forwarding resolves of Congress that the Pennsylvania and New Jer- 
sey troops in the northern army immediately join the main army under Washington. 



New Ark, November 27, 1776. 
Dear Sir: I last night received the favour of your Letter of 
the 25th. My former Letters were so full and explicit, as to the 
Necessity of your Marching, as early as possible, that it is un- 
necessary to add more on that Head. I confess I expected you 
would have been sooner in motion. The force here, when 
joined by yours, will not be adequate to any great opposition; 
at present it is weak, and it has been more owing to the bad- 
ness of the weather, that the Enemy's progress has been 
checked, than any resistance we could make. They are now 
pushing this way, part of 'em have passed the Passaic. Then- 
plan is not entirely unfolded, but I shall not be surprized, if 
Philadelphia should turn out the object of their Movement. 
The distress of the Troops, for want ofCloaths,Ifeelmuch,but 
what can I do ? Having formed an enterprize against Roger's 
&c I wish you may have succeeded. I am etc. 83 


New Ark, November 27, 1776. 
Sir: I do myself the honor to acknowledge the receipt of 
your favors of the 21st and 24th with their several Inclosures. 
The Execution of the Resolves has been and will be attended 
to, as far as in my power. I have wrote to Genl. Schuyler to 
send down, as early as possible, the Troops in the North- 
ern department, from this and the State of Pennsylvania. 
The proposition for exchanging Mr. Franklin 84 for Genl. 

Brunswick, N. J., was given as the probable junction point, but the officers were 
to keep informed of the position of the enemy and arrange their march accordingly. 
Sparks states that seven regiments were thus dispatched, four of which joined General 
Lee in their progress, and the other three marched by a more interior route till they 
reached the main army on the Delaware. 

83 The draft is in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 

84 Gov. William Franklin. 


Thompson, 85 1 shall submit to Genl. Howe, as soon as circum- 
stances will allow me. 

I have nothing in particular to advise you of, respecting the 
Enemy, more than that they are advancing this way. Part of 
them have passed the Passaick, and I suppose the main body 
that they have on this side the North River, would have done 
the same before now, as they are coming on, had their prog- 
ress not been retarded by the weather, which has been rainy 
for several days past. I have scouts and Detachments constantly 
out to harrass them and watch their Motions and to gain, if 
possible, intelligence of their designs. 

Colo Miles, who has been permitted to go to Philadelphia 
for a few days by General Howe, will deliver you this, and 
inform you of the distresses of our prisoners and the necessity 
of effecting their exchange, as far as we have Prisoners to give 
in return. 

By a Letter from the Board of War on the subject of an 
exchange, they mention that several of the Prisoners in our 
hands have inlisted. It is a measure that I think that cannot 
be justified [tho' the precedent is furnished on the side of the 
Enemy, nor do I conceive it good in point of policy] But as it 
has been done, I shall leave it with Congress to order them to be 
returned or not, as they shall judge fit. I have the honor etc. 86 


Head Quarters, Brunswic, November 29, 1776. 
Dear Sir : Yours of the 26th. overtook me a few Miles from 
this place where I arrived this day at Noon. 87 The Enemy gave 

85 Col. William Thompson, of the Pennsylvania Rifle Regiment. 

86 Both the draft and letter sent are in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison, but 
the letter sent has the additional phrase in brackets above and varies in verbal par- 
ticulars from the draft. 

"The retreat through the Jerseys began with the evacuation of Newark, which 
Washington left on November 28. 


us not the least Interruption upon our March. I am glad to 
hear that the Stores that were at Tapan and Slotts Landing are 
all got safely up; I hope you will have the same good Luck 
with the Flour. 

I approve of the Steps you have taken to keep the Tories, in 
the Neighbourhood of your post, in Order, and also of your 
Offers of Assistance to the State of New York in obstructing 
the Passage of the North River above Fort Constitution, it is 
an Object of so much Consideration, that I think too much 
Attention cannot be paid to it. 

I hope you will be able to prevail upon Scotts Brigade 88 to 
remain with you some little time beyond their Engagement, 
if the recruiting Service goes on with tolerable Success, their 
Numbers will soon be replaced by that Means. I am led to 
expect considerable Reinforcements from Pennsylvania and 
this State, I shall be in want of them, as the Time of the Flying 
Camp from Jersey and Maryland expires tomorrow and I fear 
few will be induced to stay longer. If the Reinforcements are 
equal to my Expectations, I hope I shall at least be able to pre- 
vent a further penetration of the Enemy who have already 
[mutilated] in this part of the Country. 

Mr. Palfrey has orders to advance to the Colonels, who are 
appointed and have agreed to remain in the Service, such Sums 
of Money as are necessary for the Bounties of the new inlisted 
Men. I am, etc. 89 [ms.h.s.] 


Brunswick, November 29, 1776. 
Dear Sir: I this morning received your favor of the 26th. 
Your letters to Governor Trumbull for a Reinforcement of 

88 Brig. Gen. John Morin Scott's New York Militia. 
89 In the writing of Tench Tilghman. 


Militia were exceedingly proper, tho' I doubt much whether they 
can be obtained, as they have suffered many inconveniences in 
the course of the present campaign; nor was the application 
to Mr. Bowdoin for Cloaths &c. less necessary. I am happy to 
hear the men discover so much readiness to engage in the Serv- 
ice and that there may be no Objection for want of Bounty 
Money, I have directed the Paymaster General to advance it 
to such of the Colonels as apply, and who are appointed and 
agreed to continue. I imagine you have settled with the Com- 
missary a plan for being supplied with provisions on your 
march, that will be highly expedient; I will use my exertions. 
I am &c. 90 


Head Quarters, Brunswick, November 30, 1776. 
Sir: I have the pleasure and Honor of acknowledging the 
Receipt of yours of the 27th. 91 General Williamson gives me 
small Encouragement to hope for much Assistance from the 
Militia of this State; indeed some of the Counties, if they were 
willing, are intimidated from coming in, as the Enemy have 
possession of the Country. I hope the four Regiments, to be 
raised to serve till the first of April, will be quickly full, as more 
dependance is to be put upon them, than Common Militia. 
The time of General Heard's Brigade of flying Camp Men for 
this State, and that of Genl. Beall's from Maryland, expires this 
day ; so that the army will by that means, suffer a very consider- 
able diminution. But what is still worse, altho' most of the 

80 The draft is in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 

Governor Livingston had written (November 27): "I can easily form some Idea 
of the Difficulties under which you labour and particularly of one for which the public 
can make no allowances because your Prudence and Fidelity to the Cause will not 
suffer you to reveal it to the public, an instance of Magnanimity superior perhaps to 
any that can be shewn in Battle. But depend upon it, my dear Sir, the impartial World 
will do you ample Justice before Long. May God support you under that Fatigue both 
of Body and Mind to which you must be constantly exposed." Livingston's letter is 
in the Washington Papers. 


Pennsylvanians are inlisted till the first of January, I am in- 
formed that they are deserting in great numbers; I therefore 
intreat, that you would without loss of time, give orders to the 
officers of Militia on the Roads and the Ferries over Delaware, 
to take up and secure every Soldier that has not a regular dis- 
charge or Pass. In order to effect this, proper guards should be 
immediately posted. 

I thank you most sincerely for your feelings for me at this 
time and upon this occasion; I will not however despair; but 
look forward with a hope that such Reinforcements will yet 
arrive to my assistance, as will enable me to prevent our com- 
mon Enemy from making much further Progress. I am, etc. 92 


Brunswick, November 30, 1776. 

Dear Sir : The inclosed was put into my hands by an Express 
from the White Plains. Having no Idea of its being a Private 
Letter, much less suspecting the tendency of the correspond- 
ence, I opened it, as I had done all other Letters to you, from 
the same place and Peekskill, upon the business of your Office, 
as I conceived and found them to be. 

This, as it is the truth, must be my excuse for seeing the con- 
tents of a Letter, which neither inclination or intention would 
have prompted me to. 

I thank you for the trouble and fatigue you have undergone 
in your Journey to Burlington, and sincerely wish that your 
labours may be crowned with the desired success. My best 
Respects to Mrs. Reed. I am, Dear Sir, etc. 

P. S. The petition referred to I keep. 93 

"The draft is in the writing of Tench Tilghman. 

9 See note to Washington's letter to Lee, Nov. 21, 1776, ante. Lee's letter of Novem- 
ber 24, as printed in Reed's Life and Correspondence of Joseph Reed (vol. 1, p. 257), 
contains no mention of a petition or any other inclosure. 



Brunswick, November 30, 1776. 

Sir: I have been honored with your favor of the 26th with 
its Inclosures, by which I perceive the measures that have 
been adopted for forwarding a reinforcement of Militia. Their 
arrival is much to be wished, the situation of our Affairs being 
truly alarming and such as demands the earliest aids. As Genl. 
Mifflin's presence may have a happy influence upon the dispo- 
sition and temper of many of the Associators, I shall [attempt 
to do without him as well as I can, 'till his return] not direct 
his return so long as he can be done without, and till it becomes 
indispensibly necessary. 94 

On Thursday morning, I left New Ark and arrived here 
yesterday with the Troops that were there. It was the opinion 
of all the Generals who were with me, that a retreat to this 
Place was requisite and founded on necessity, as our force was 
by no means sufficient to make a stand against the Enemy, 
much superior in number, with the least probability of success, 
and whose advanced Guards were entering [when] the Town 
by the time our Rear [came] got out. It was the wish of all to 
have remained there longer and to have halted before we came 
thus far, but upon due consideration of our Strength, the cir- 
cumstances attending the inlistment of a great part of our little 
force, and the frequent advices, that the Enemy were embark- 
ing or about to embark another detachment for Staten Island, 
with a view of Landing at Amboy to co-operate with this, which 
seemed to be confirmed by the information of some persons 

94 The Associators, or militia, of Philadelphia City and County; of Bucks, Chester, 
and Northampton Counties, Pa., were called out for six weeks from the time of joining 
the Army, but the order was countermanded on November 27 and renewed on De- 
cember 1 . New York directed Brigadier General Scott to continue his brigade in the 
service for one month, as it had so volunteered, and New Jersey called out its militia 
on November 26. 


who came from the Island, that they were collecting and im- 
pressing all the Waggons they could find; It was judged nec- 
essary to proceed till we came here, not only to prevent their 
bringing a force to act upon our Front and Rear, but also that 
we might be more convenient to oppose any Troops they might 
land at South Amboy, which many conjectured to be an object 
they had in view. This conjecture [was not without some re- 
ports] too, had probability and some advices to support it. 95 

I hoped we should have met with large and early Succors by 
this time ; but as yet no great number of the Militia of this State 
has come in, nor have I much reason to expect, [from the 
accounts I have,] that any considerable aid will be derived 
from the Counties, which lie beyond this river, and in which 
the Enemy are. [Indeed] Their situation will prevent it in a 
great measure from those parts where they are, provided the 
inclinations of the people were good. Added to this, I have 
[now] no assurances, that more than a very few of the Troops 
composing the flying Camp will remain after the time of their 
engagement is out; so far from it, I am told, that [many] some 
of General Ewing's brigade, who stand engaged to the ist of 
January, are now going away. If those go, whose service ex- 
pires this day, our force will be reduced to a mere handfull. 
From intelligence received this morning, one Division of the 
Enemy was advanced last night as far as Elizabeth Town, and 
that some of their Quartermasters had proceeded [as far as 
Spank Town] about four or five miles on this side, to provide 
Barns for their accommodation. Other accounts say another 
division, composed of Hessians, are on the road thro Spring- 
field and are reported to have reached that place last night. I 

85 Sparks refers to the Narrative of Sir William Howe Before a Committee of the 
House of Commons (London: 1780) and Almon's Parliamentary Register (vol. 11, 
pp. 361, 371) as authority for the statement that Howe did not intend to push his 
force across the Delaware in this campaign. 


do not know how far their views extend, but I doubt not, [that] 
they mean to push every advantage resulting from the small 
number and State of our Troops. I early began to forward part 
of the Stores from this place towards Philadelphia. Many are 
gone, the rest we are removing, and hope to secure. I am, &c. 

P. S. I have wrote to Govenr. Livingston who is exerting 
himself to throw in every assistance and to have guards placed 
at the ferries to prevent the return of the soldiers who are 
not discharged. 96 


Head Quarters, Brunswick, November 30, 1776. 

Gentn: I am to acknowledge the receipt of your favors of 
the 18th. 19th and 23d Instant, which, from the unsettled situa- 
tion of our affairs, I have not been able to answer before. 

That of the 18th incloses a list of Stores taken in the Hancock 
and Adams Continental Ship and carried into Dartmouth in 
New England, with a Resolve of Congress to deliver the Mus- 
kets, Powder, Lead and Flints to my order, as the other Articles 
of the Cargo will be full as useful to the Army, as those in- 
cluded in the Resolve, I would advise, that you give directions 
to have the whole Cargo removed from Dartmouth to some 
secure place in the Neighbourhood of Philadelphia, and there 
deposited till call'd for. 97 It is by no means proper, that so great 
a Quantity of Military Stores should be lodged with the Army, 
especially at present, as we know not today, where we shall be 
obliged to remove tomorrow, and that will in all probability 

80 Both the draft and letter sent are in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. The 
bracketed portions, which are in the draft, are not in the letter sent, and the draft ends 
with " the small number and State of our Troops." 

"'The Hancock and Adams was bringing a cargo of military stores from France for 
the use of the continent when seized by the Rhode Island privateer Gamecoc\. 


be the case, while the Enemy continue with a light Army on 
this Side the North River. 

In Answer to that part of yours of the 19th. in which you ask 
my advice, as to the propriety of inlisting prisoners of War, 
I would just observe, that in my opinion, it is neither consistent 
with the Rules of War, nor politic, nor can I think that because 
our Enemies have committed an unjustifiable action by inticing 
and in some instances intimidating our men into their service, 
we ought to follow their Example. Before I had the honor of 
yours on this subject, I had determined to remonstrate to Genl 
Howe on this Head; as to those few who have already inlisted, 
I would not have them again withdrawn and sent in, because 
they might be subjected to punishment, but I would have the 
practice discontinued in future. If you will revert to the capitu- 
lation of St. Johns and Chamblee you will find an express stip- 
ulation against inlisting the prisoners taken there. I remarked 
that the Inlistment of Prisoners was not a Politic Step; my 
Reason is this, that in time of Danger I have always observed 
such persons most backward, for fear I suppose of falling into 
the Hands of their former Masters, from whom they expect to 
receive no Mercy, and this fear they are apt to communicate 
to their Fellow soldiers. They are also most ready to desert, 
when an Action is expected, hoping by carrying Intelligence, 
to make their peace. 

I met Capt. Hesketh 98 on the Road, and as the situation of 
his Family did not admit of delay, I permitted him to go imme- 
diately to New York, not having the least doubt but General 
Howe will make a Return of any officer of equal Rank, who 
shall be required. I have &c." 

9S Capt. Thomas Hesketh, of the Seventh Foot, British Army. 
89 The draft is in the writing of Tench Tilghman. It varies from the "Letter Book " 
copy in minor details of capitalization. 



Brunswick, December i, 1776. 
Dear Sir: The Enemy are advancing, and have got as far as 
Woodbridge and Amboy, and from information not to be 
doubted, mean to push to Philadelphia. The force I have with 
me, is infinitely inferior in Number and such as cannot give or 
promise the least successful Opposition. It is greatly reduced 
by the departure of the Maryland flying Camp men and sun- 
dry other causes. 1 I must entreat you to hasten your march, as 
much as possible, or your arrival may be too late to answer any 
valuable purpose. Your route nor the place to join me I cannot 
particularize. In these instances you must be governed by Cir- 
cumstances, and the Intelligence you receive, Let the former be 
secure. I hope to meet a considerable reinforcement of Penn- 
sylvania Associators; it is said they seem spirited upon this 
Occasion. I am &c. 


Brunswick, December 1, 1776. 
Sir : I yesterday had the honor of writing you and to advise of 
our arrival here. I am now to inform you that the Enemy are 
still advancing, and that their Van guard had proceeded as far 
as Bonum, a small Town about four miles this side of Wood- 
bridge, according to my last intelligence. As to their number, 
reports are various. Some say, they were joined yesterday by 
a considerable reinforcement from Staten Island, how far this 

*Ford quotes from a letter from General Greene to Governor Cooke (Dec. 4, 1 776) : 
"Two brigades left us at Brunswick, notwithstanding the enemy were within two 
hours' march and coming on. The loss of these troops at this critical time reduced his 
Excellency to the necessity to order a retreat again. . . . When we left Brunswick, 
we had not 3000 men." 


fact may be true, I cannot determine, but from every informa- 
tion before, they were between Six and seven thousand strong. 
I have for some time past, supposed Philadelphia to be the 
Object of their movement, and have every reason to beleive 
my Opinion well founded. The advices of sundry persons who 
have had an Opportunity of mixing and conversing with them 
on the March, agreeing that such is the report. I have wrote to 
Governor Livingston upon the Subject, requesting his utmost 
exertions to forward on every succour in his power. The same 
I trust will be attended to in Pennsylvania. Without a sufficient 
number of Men and Arms, their progress cannot be checked, 
at present our Force is totally inadequate to any attempt. 

Several Officers belonging to the Enemy who were Prisoners, 
have obtained permission to return. I have not yet sent in the 
names of those belonging to us, that are to be exchanged for 
them. By a Virginia paper, I perceive that Capt. Morgan 2 and 
Lieut. Heath 3 who were taken prisoners at Quebec and now 
on parole are promoted in the late arrangement of Officers in 
that State; the former to a Regiment the latter to a Majority: It 
would be well if they could be released, but being Virginians 
and not knowing that any Gentlemen, who were taken at the 
same time are so circumstanced, I have declined claiming then- 
return without the Opinion of Congress lest I should incur the 
charge of partiality. I have sent forward Colo. Humpton 4 to 
collect proper boats and craft at the Ferry for transporting our 
Troops and it will be of Infinite importance to have every other 
craft, besides what he takes for the above purpose, secured on 

2 Capt. Daniel Morgan, of the Virginia Rifle Company. He had been taken prisoner 
at Quebec; was promoted to'colonel of the Eleventh Virginia Regiment Nov. 12, 1776. 

3 Lieut. William Heth, of Morgan's company. He was promoted to major of the 
Eleventh Virginia Regiment Nov. 13, 1776, and became lieutenant colonel and 
colonel of the Third Virginia Regiment; was captured at Charleston, S. C, in May, 
1780; remained a prisoner on parole to the end of the war. 

4 Col. Richard Humpton, of the Eleventh Pennsylvania Regiment. 


the West side of Delaware, otherwise they may fall into En- 
emy's hands and facilitate their views. I have &c. 

P. S. Y 2 after i o'clock P. M. The Enemy are fast advancing, 
some of 'em are now in sight. All the Men of the Jersey flying 
Camp under Genl. Herd being applied to, have refused to con- 
tinue longer in service. 5 


Brunswick, December i, 1776. 

Dear Sir: I wrote to you yesterday; but, as from every Infor- 
mation of the motions of the Enemy, their intent seems plainly 
directed thro' this State, and then on to Philadelphia; I cannot 
help calling on you, in the most urgent Manner, and begging 
you to fall upon proper means to draw forth the Strength of 
your province to my support. 

The Enemy's advanced Parties were last night at Bonum 
Town, four Miles on this side of Woodbridge; 6 They are im- 
pressing Waggons and Horses, and Collecting Cattle and 
Sheep ; which is a further proof of their intent to march a Con- 
siderable distance. Unless my force is speedily augmented, it 
will be impossible for me to make any stand at this Place, when 
the Enemy advance; as I have not, including General William- 
son's 7 Militia (say 1,000) more than four thousand men. The 
Militia from the Counties of Morris and Sussex, turn out slowly 
and reluctantly, whether owing to the want of officers of Spirit 
to encourage them, or your Summons not being regularly sent to 
them, I cannot say; but, I have reason to believe, there has 

"Both the draft and letter sent are in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison, but 
the last paragraph and the P. S. above are not in the draft, which varies in minor 
verbal details from the letter sent. 

6 "The defenceless legislature [of New Jersey], with their Governor at their head, 
wandered from Princeton to Burlington, from Burlington to Pittstown, from Pittstown 
to Haddonfield.and there, finally, at the utmost verge of the State, dissolved themselves 
on the 2d of December, leaving each member to look to his own safety, at a moment 
when the efforts of legislators would be of no avail." (See Sedgwick's Life of William 

T Brig. Gen. Matthias Williamson, of the New Jersey Militia. 

1776] NEED OF MILITIA 321 

been a deficiency in both Cases. Designing men have been pur- 
posely sent among them, to influence some and intimidate 
others; and, except Gentlemen of Spirit and Character will 
appear among them, and rouse them, little can be expected. 
I wrote to Genl. Williamson last Night, and pressed him to 
exert himself; but, I have reason to believe, he has not the confi- 
dence of the People, as much as could be wished. My Accounts 
of the Reinforcements, to be expected from Pennsylvania, are 
very incouraging; but, from the Distance and Necessary delays 
attending a Sudden march, I cannot look for them under a 
Week or ten days; in which time the Enemy will have reached 
the Delaware, at least, if not opposed by more than my present 
Numbers. Genl Lee is on his march down to join me; but, if 
the Enemy should throw in a body of men between us, he will 
be obliged to make a considerable circuit, to avoid them. The 
Boats and Craft, all along the Delaware side, should be secured; 
particularly the Durham Boats used for the Transportation of 
produce down the River. Parties should be sent to all the land- 
ings to have them removed to the other side, hawled up, and 
put under proper Guards. One such Boat would transport a 
Regiment of Men. I have &c. 8 


l / 2 after 7 P. M., December 1, 1776. 
Sir: In a little time after I wrote you this Evening, the En- 
emy appeared in several parties on the Heights opposite Bruns- 
wic 9 and were advancing in a large body towards the crossing 

8 The draft is in the writing of Tench Tilghman. 

9 Ford notes that on November 30 the Council of Safety of Philadelphia published a 
notice warning all who would wish to avoid the " insults and oppressions of a licen- 
tious soldiery" should be prepared to leave the city on a short warning. The news that 
arrived on December 2, placing Howe's army at Brunswick, N. J., and on the road to 
Philadelphia, produced a panic, and for days after the roads were crowded with 
wagons, and all was hurry and confusion in the city. Shops were closed, schools 
"broke up," and the inhabitants engaged in providing for their own safety or for the 
defense of the city. 


place. We had a smart canonade whilst we were parading our 
Men but without any or but little loss on either side. It being 
impossible to oppose them with our present force with the least 
prospect of success, we shall retreat to the West side of Dela- 
ware and have advanced about Eight miles where it is hoped 
we shall meet a reinforcement sufficient to check their prog- 
ress. I have sent Colo. Humpton forward to collect the neces- 
sary boats for our transportation and conceive it proper that the 
Militia from Pennsylvania should be ordered towards Tren- 
ton, that they may be ready to Join us and act as occasion may 
require. I am, etc. 

P. S. I wish my Letters of yesterday may arrive safe, being 
informed that the return Express who had 'em was idling his 
time and shewing 'em on the Road. 10 


Brunswick, December i, 1776. 

Sir: I am to acknowledge the Honor of your favor of the nth 
Ulto. and to thank you for your polite return of my Letter to 
Mrs. Washington. 

Agreeing to the Proposition you were pleased to make for 
the exchange of such Prisoners as can be conveniently collected. 
The Gentlemen whose names are specified in the inclosed List 
have permission to proceed immediately to New York. Others, 
as soon as they arrive, will be allowed the same indulgence. At 
a proper season I shall require a return of the like number and 
of equal rank. 

Having directions from Congress to propose an Exchange of 
Governor Franklin for Brigadier General Thompson, I would 
take the Liberty to submit the matter to your determination, 
and to request your Answer upon the Subject. 

10 In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 

1776] DELAY OF LEE 111 

Besides the Persons included in the inclosed List, Captain 
Hesketh of the 7th Regiment, his Lady, 3 Children and two 
Servant maids were permitted to go in a few days ago. I am 
Sir, etc. 11 


Princeton, December 2, 1776. 
Sir: I arrived here this morning with our Troops between 
Eight and Nine O'clock, when I received the Honor of your 
Letter of the 1st with its inclosures. When the Enemy first 
landed on this side the North River, I apprehended that they 
meant to make a push this way, and knowing that the force 
which I had, was not sufficient to oppose 'em, I wrote to Genl. 
Lee to cross with the Several Continental Regiments in his 
Division, and hoped he would have arrived before now; by 
some means or other he has been delayed. I suppose he has 
passed the River, as his Letter of the 26th ulto. mentioned that 
he had marched a Brigade the day before, and should follow 
the next himself. 12 The remainder of the Troops, I conceived 
necessary to guard the several passes thro' the Highlands, nor 
do I think they can be called from thence. Their number is 
very small, being reduced to very few by the departure of the 
Troops who stood engaged till the 30th ulto. I understand 
there are now at Bristol several prisoners. As their exchange at 
this time cannot be effected with propriety, I think it will be 
necessary under the present situation of Affairs, to have 'em 
removed immediately to some more interior place upon their 
paroles. If they remain, they may be of infinite disadvan- 
tage. 13 I have &c. 

"The draft is in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison and Tench Tilghman. 

"General Heath wrote to Washington (December 2) "General Lee is this day begin- 
ning to pass the River with his Division." Heath's letter is in the Washington Papers. 

13 In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. On the address sheet is the following, 
in the writing of Benjamin Harrison: "To Mr. Peters. Sir: Dispatch an Express im- 
mediately to have the prisoners at Bristol Removed. B. H." 



December 2, 1776. 
The Congress having been pleased to give you a Commission 
of a Captain in the Army of the United States, you are hereby 
Authorized and Impowered to Inlistabody of able bodied Men, 
especially Germans to be under such regulations as the Con- 
gress shall hereafter Direct, for the Term of Three years, and on 
the Conditions and pay of the last Establishment. 15 


Head Quarters, December 3, 1776. 
Sir: The Letter which accompanies this, was designed to 
have been sent by the Gentlemen whose names are in the List 
it incloses; but by some Accident or delay of my messenger 
they had left Brunswick before it reached them. Since that time 
I have been informed, that a Number of others both Officers and 
Soldiers are coming on from the State of Pennsylvania. I have 
directed Col. Moylan to meet, and to give them a safe conduct 
to your out Posts, he will transmit you a List of their number, 
names and Ranks, and I shall as I mentioned in my former 
Letter, soon make a Requisition of the like number of equal 
Rank. I am &ca. 16 


Head Quarters, Trenton, December 3, 1776. 
Sir: I arrived here myself yesterday morning with the Main 
body of the Army, having left Lord Stirling with two Brigades 

14 Ottendorff was a brevet captain by a commission dated November 8. He raised a 
battalion of three companies of Germans and was commissioned a major thereof on 
December 5. His battalion was merged with Armand'sPartizan Corps in October, 1780. 

M The signed letter, in the writing of John Fitzgerald, is in the Papers of the Conti- 
nental Congress. 

"The draft is in the writing of Tench Tilghman. 


at Princeton and that neighbourhood to watch the Motions of 
the Enemy and give notice of their approach. I am informed 
that they had not entered Brunswick yesterday morning at 
9 O'Clock, but were on the opposite side of the Raritan. Imme- 
diately on my arrival here, I ordered the Removal of all the 
Military and other Stores and Baggage over the Delaware, a 
great Quantity are already got over, and as soon as the Boats 
come up from Philadelphia, we shall load them, by which 
Means I hope to have every thing secured this Night and to mor- 
row if we are not disturbed. After being disencumbered of my 
Baggage and Stores, my future Situation will depend intirely 
upon Circumstances. I have not heard a Word from General 
Lee, since the 26th last month, [which surprises me not a little, 
as I have dispatched daily Expresses to him, desiring to know 
when I might look for him. This makes me fearful that my 
Letters have not reached him.] 

I am informed by report that Genl. St. Clair has joined him 
with three or four Regiments from the Northward, to know 
the Truth of this, and also when I may expect him and with 
what Numbers, I have this minute dispatched Colo. Stewart 17 
(Genl. Gates's Aid de Camp) to meet Genl. Lee and bring me 
an Account. 18 I look out earnestly for the Reinforcement from 
Philadelphia, I am in hopes, if we can draw a good Head of 
Men together, It will give Spirits to the Militia of this State who 
have as yet afforded me little or no Assistance, nor can I find 
they are likely to do much. Genl. Heard just informs me, that 
a person, on whose Veracity he can depend, has reported to 

"Maj. Walter Stewart. He was colonel of a Pennsylvania State regiment in June, 
1777, which was designated the Thirteenth Pennsylvania Regiment in Novem- 
ber, 1777. He was transferred to the Second Pennsylvania Regiment in July, 1778, 
and acted as subinspector, Continental Army, up to June, 1783. 

"Congress seemed to be as much in the dark about General Lee's plans and move- 
ments as General Washington, and on December 2 they resolved: "That the Commit- 
tee for establishing expresses be directed to send Colonel Stewart, or any other officer 
express to General Lee, to know where and in what situation he and the army with 
him are." (See Journals of the Continental Congress.) 


him, that on Sunday last he counted 117 Sail of Ships going out 
of the Hook. You may depend upon being advised instantly of 
any further Movement of the Enemy's Army or that of mine. 
I am, etc. 19 


Trenton, December 3, 1776. 
Dear Sir: I was just now favoured with your Letter of the 
30th Ulto. Having wrote you fully both Yesterday and to day 
of my Situation, it is unnecessary for me to add much at this 
time. You will readily agree that I have sufficient cause for my 
anxiety and to wish for your arrival as early as possible. In re- 
spect to instructions on your Route, you must be governed by 
Circumstances, this has been the language of all my Letters, 
since I had Occasion to call for your aid, The sooner you can 
join me with your division, the sooner the Service will be bene- 
fited. As to bringing any of the Troops under Genl. Heath, I 
cannot consent to it. The posts they are at and the passes thro' 
the High Lands being of the utmost importance, they must be 
guarded by good Men. I would have you to give me frequent 
advices of your approach. Upon proper information in this 
instance much may depend. I am &c. 20 


Head Quarters, Trenton, December 4, 1776. 
Sir: Yours of the 28th last Month was delivered to me by the 
Brigadier Le Loche de Fermoy 21 who is now here, but unable 
to render me that Service; which I dare say from his Character 
he would, was he better acquainted with our Language. 

19 Both the draft and letter sent are in the writing of Tench Tilghman. The part in 
brackets was not in the draft as first written, but was added later in the margin. 

w The draft is in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 

^Mathieu Alexis de Roche Fermoy. He had been commissioned by Congress a 
brigadier general on Nov. 5, 1776; resigned Jan. 31, 1778. 


I yesterday received a Letter from you without a date, men- 
tioning that the Prisoners from York Town were directed to 
halt at Newtown for my Orders. On hearing they were there, 
I sent Colo. Moylan to conduct them, and the Prisoners from 
Reading who arrived nearly at the same time, over towards 
Brunswick, and deliver them in. I hope you have not sent 
Capt. Price, 22 Lt. Peacock 23 and Major Campbell 24 on to this 
place, as it is highly improper they should see and know the 
Situation of our Army here and at Princeton; they had better 
be sent up, under the care of some person to Newtown or that 
Neighbourhood and there wait the arrival of some large Party, 
who, I imagine will be soon forward from Lancaster, and go in 
with them. Lieut. Symes 25 came over to me at Brunswick from 
Bethlehem without the least guard or Escort, and a Lieutenant 
of the 7th Regiment went thro' our whole Army, and was at last 
discovered by a mere accident, he had a pass from the Council of 
Safety and that was all. Such an irregular Mode, of Suffering 
prisoners to go in alone must be put a Stop to, or the Enemy 
will be as well acquainted with our Situation, as we are our- 
selves. If they are left at liberty to choose their own Rout, they 
will always take that thro' our Army for reasons too obvious to 
mention. I am &c. 

P. S. I have been obliged to send down a number of our Sick 
to Philadelphia to make room for the Troops and to remove 
them out of the way. Be pleased to have some care taken to 
have them properly accommodated. I should think part of the 
House of Employment, might be procured for that purpose. 
I have ordered down an Officer from each Regiment and a 

22 Capt. William Price, of the Twenty-fifth Foot, British Army. 

23 Lieut. George Peacock, of the Sixth Foot, British Army. 
M Maj. Mungo Campbell, of the Fifty-fifth Foot, British Army. 

2S Lieut. Richard Symes is listed in the Army List, 1776, as a captain of the Fifty- 
second Foot. 


Surgeon's Mate, if they can be spared. But I hope they will not 
want the Assistance of the visiting Physicians of the Hospital. 
I am &c. 26 


Trenton, December 4, 1776. 

Sir: Since I had the honor of addressing you yesterday, I 
received a Letter from Genl. Lee. On the 30th Ulto. he was 
at Peekskill and expected to pass with his Division two days 
after. From this intelligence you will readily conclude that he 
will not be able to afford us any aid for several days. The re- 
port of Genl St. Clair's having joined him with three or four 
Regiments, I believe to be altogether premature, as he mentions 
nothing of it. It has arisen, as I am informed, from the return of 
some of the Jersey and Pennsylvania Troops fromTiconderoga, 
whose time of service is expired. They have reached Pluckemin 
where I have wrote to have them halted and kept together, if 
they can be prevailed on, till further orders. 

The Inclosed, is a Copy of a Letter which came to hand last 
night from Major Clark, 27 to which I beg leave to refer you for 
the Intelligence it contains. The number of the Enemy said to 
have embarked is supposed to be rather exaggerated. That 
there has been an embarkation is not to be doubted, it being 
confirmed thro' various channels. By Colo. Griffin 28 who went 
from Brunswick on Sunday morning with a Capt. Sims, 29 to 

28 The draft and the letter sent are in the writing of Tench Tilghman. 

27 Major John Clark, jr., of the Pennsylvania Battalion of the Flying Camp. Later he 
was an aide-de-camp to General Greene; captain in the Thirteenth Pennsylvania Regi- 
ment and one of the auditors of the Continental Army. He was of much service to 
Washington during the Brandywine-Germantown campaign and later in collecting 
secret intelligence. A copy of Clark's letter, dated Nov. 29, 1776, from Tappan, N. Y., 
is filed with Washington's letter in the Papers of the Continental Congress. 

28 Col. Samuel GrifHn, deputy adjutant general of the Flying Camp. He had been 
wounded at Harlem Heights, N. Y., in October. 

^Lieut. Richard Symes. (See note to Washington's letter to the Board of War, Dec. 
4, 1776, ante.) 

1776] DELAY OF LEE 329 

pass him by our Guards, and who was detained by Lord Corn- 
wallis till Monday evening [yesterday morning] on account of 
his situation [of his Army] . the amount of Genl Clinton's force 
from what he could collect from the officers, was about Six 
Thousand, as to their destination he could not obtain the least 
information. By him I also learn, the Enemy were in Brunswic 
and that some of their advanced parties had proceeded two 
Miles on this side. The heavy rain that has fallen has probably 
checked their progress [and the weather that may succeed, may 
delay their progress, if not] and may prevent their further 
movement for some time. I have &c. 30 


December 5, 1776. 

To enquire into the situation of the troops under General 
Lee and let me know when they are, by what rout they March, 
and what Stages they will make, and other matters which may 
be necessary to know. Also to enquire into the State of the 
regiments from Ticonderago where they are, the Situation 
they are in, and under whose command, whether their term 
of Service is expired, whether in that case, they will consent to 
continue awhile longer in Service, a fortnight for instance, and 
other matters which may be useful to know. 

Moreover to enquire what Militia are with Gen. William- 
son, belonging to the State of New Jersey, where any other of 
the militia of the said State are assembled, under what officers, 
how appointed &ca. In short I wish to know the whole force 
that is collected, where and what may be expected from them. 

30 In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. The parts in brackets are in the draft, 
but not in the letter sent. 


The Militia should be encouraged to turn out under proper 
officers, not in a confused and disorderly manner, and join the 
Army, or assemble in the vicinity of it, enquire into the articles 
of provisions &ca. [n. y.h.s.] 



Head Quarters, Trenton, December 5, 1776. 

Sir: I have yours of this morning from Bristol. As the most 
Considerable part of the Army is like to be in this Town and its 
Neighbourhood, I think you better remove the Treasury as near 
as possible on the Pennsylvania Side of the River, when you 
have fixed upon a House, a proper Guard shall be appointed. 
It is very inconvenient for officers to go for Money, which is 
wanted every Moment for one Purpose or other, even as far as 
Bristol. Inclosed you have a Letter for Govr. Livingston which 
desire Colo. Griffin to send over to Burlington by a trusty Mes- 
senger; if Govr. Livingston should not be at Burlington, he 
will certainly be at Philada. to which place Colo. Griffin (who 
lodges at Priestleys) will be pleased to send it. I am, etc. 

P. S. Be pleased to forward the inclosed for Colo. Reed also. 33 


Trenton, December 5, 1776. 
Sir: As nothing but necessity obliged me to retire before the 
Enemy, and leave so much of the Jerseys unprotected, I con- 
ceive it to be my duty, and it corrisponds with my Inclination, 
to make head against them, so soon as there shall be the least 
probability of doing it with propriety; that the Country might 

"The New York Historical Society document is a recent copy. 

32 Deputy paymaster general of the Flying Camp. 

33 This letter is in private hands, having been sold in 1907. It was printed in the 
Magazine of American History, vol. 6, p. 138. 


in some Measure be covered, I left two Brigades (consisting of 
the five Virginia Regiments and that of Delaware, containing 
in the whole abt. 1200 Men fit for Duty, under the Command 
of Lord Stirling and Genl. Stephen) 34 at Princeton, till the Bag- 
gage and stores could cross the Delaware, or the Troops under 
their respective Commands forced from that place. I shall 
now, having removed the greatest part of the above Articles, 
face about with such Troops as are here fit for Service and 
March back to Princeton and there govern myself by Circum- 
stances and the movements of General Lee. At any event, the 
Enemy's progress may be retarded by this Means if they Intend 
to come on, and the People's fears in some measure quieted if 
they do not; sorry I am to observe however, that the frequent 
calls upon the Militia of this State, the want of exertion in the 
principal Gentlemen of the Country, or a fatal supiness and 
insensibility of danger, (till it is too late to prevent an evil, that 
was not only foreseen but foretold) have been the causes of 
our late disgraces. If the Militia of this State had step'd forth 
in Season, (and timely notice they had) we might have pre- 
vented the Enemy's crossing the Hackensack, although (with- 
out some previous notice of the time, and place) it was impos- 
sible to have done this at the No. River. We might with 
equal probability of success, have made a stand at Brunswick 
on the Rariton; but as both these Rivers were fordable (in a 
variety of places knee deep only) it required many Men to 
defend the passes, and these we had not. At Hackensack our 
force was insufficient, because part was at Elizabeth Town, 
Amboy and Brunswick, guarding a coast which I thought 
most exposed to danger; and at Brunswick, because I was dis- 
appointed in my expectation of Militia, and because on the 

34 Brig. Gen. Adam Stephen. He had been colonel o£ the Fourth Virginia Regiment; 
promoted to brigadier general in the Continental Army Sept. 4, 1776; major general 
Feb. 19, 1777; dismissed for drunkenness on November 20 of that year. 


day of the approach of the Enemy and probably the reason 
of it, [why the attack was made] the term of the Jersey and 
Maryland Brigade's Service expired and neither of them would 
stay an hour longer. 

These, among ten thousand other Instances, might be ad- 
duced to shew the disadvantages of short Enlistments, and the 
little dependance upon Militia in times of real danger; but as 
yesterday cannot be recalled, I will not dwell upon a subject 
which no doubt has given much uneasiness to Congress, as 
well as severe pain and mortification to me. 

My first wish is, that Congress may be convinced [from expe- 
rience] of the [indispensable necessity] 35 propriety of relying 
as little as possible upon Militia, and of the necessity of raising 
a larger standing Army than they have voted, the saving in 
the Article of Stores, Provisions and in a thousand other things 
by having nothing to do with Militia, [unless in cases of ex- 
traordinary emergency and such as could not be expected in 
the common course of events,] 36 would amply support a 
large Army which (well officered) would daily be improving 
instead of [airways] 37 continuing a destructive, expensive and 
disorderly Mob. 

I am clearly of opinion, that if 40,000 Men had been kept in 
constant pay since the first Commencement of Hostilities, and 
the Militia had been excused doing duty during that Period, the 
Continent would have saved Money. When I reflect on the losses 
we have sustain'd for want of good Troops, the certainty of 
this is placed beyond a doubt in my Mind. In such case the 
Militia, who have been Harrassed and tired by repeated calls 
upon them, and Farming, and Manufactures in a Manner sus- 
pended would, upon any emergency have run with alacrity to 

3B The phrases in brackets were crossed out by Washington. 

86 This phrase in brackets is in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 

37 Crossed out by Washington. 


Arms, whereas the cry now is, they may as well be mind one 
way as another, and with difficulty are obtaind. I mention these 
things to shew that in my opinion, if any dependance is placed 
on Militia another year, the Congress will deceive themselves. 
When danger is a little remov'd from them, they will not turn 
out at all. When it comes home to them, the well affected, 
instead of flying to Arms to defend themselves, are busily em- 
ployed in removing their Family's and Effects, while the 
disaffected are concerting measures to make their Submission, 
and spread terror and dismay all around, to induce others to 
follow the example; daily experience and abundant proofs 
warrant this Information. 

I shall this day reinforce Lord Stirling with 1200 Men, which 
will make his Numbers about 2400, to morrow I mean to repair 
to Princeton myself and shall order the Pennsylvania Troops 
(who are not yet arrivd except part of the German Battalion, 
and a Company of Light Infantry), on to the same place. 

By my last advices the Enemy are still at Brunswick and the 
Account adds that General Howe was expected at Elizabeth 
Town with a Reinforcement, to erect the King's Standard and 
demand a submission of this state. I can only give this as a 
Report, brot. from the Enemy's Camp by some of the Country 
People. I have &c. 38 


Trenton, December 6, 1776. 
Sir: I have not received any Intelligence of the Enemy's move- 
ments since my Letter of Yesterday; from every Information 
they still remain at Brunswick, except some of their parties who 
are advanced a small distance on this side, to day I shall set 

88 The last paragraph of this letter is missing in the draft. It is supplied from the 
letter sent, which was copied by Robert Hanson Harrison, and is in the Papers 
of the Continental Congress. There are a few slight variations of minor value be- 
tween the letter sent and the draft in Washington's writing as above. 


out for Princeton myself, unless something should occur to 
prevent me, which I do not expect. 

By a Letter of the 4th Inst, from a Mr. Caldwell, 89 a Clergy- 
man and a staunch friend to the Cause, and who has fled from 
Elizabeth Town and taken refuge in the Mountains about Ten 
Miles from thence, I am informed, that Genl. or Lord Howe 
was expected in that Town, to publish pardon and peace. His 
words are, "I have not seen his proclamation, but only can say, 
he gives 60 days of Grace and Pardons from the Congress down 
to the Committee. No one man in the Continent is to be denied 
his Mercy." 40 In the language of this Good Man, the Lord de- 
liver us from his Mercy. 

Your Letter of the 3d, by Major Livingston was duly received. 
Before it came to hand, I had wrote to Genl. Howe about Gov- 
ernor Franklin's exchange, but am not certain whether the 
Letter could not be recovered. I dispatched a Messenger in- 
stantly for that purpose. 41 I am &c. 42 


Trenton, December 7, 1776. 
Sir: As your Troops (from Philadelphia) can be better ac- 
comodated in this place than at Princeton, where Quarters are 

39 Rev. James Caldwell, chaplain of a New Jersey brigade and Assistant Quarter- 
master. He was killed by a sentinel in November, 1781. 

40 The proclamation was issued November 30 by Admiral Richard Lord Howe and 
General Sir William Howe jointly, offering a pardon to all who had opposed the 
King's authority and who should within 60 days subscribe to a declaration that they 
would "remain in a peaceable Obedience to His Majesty, and will not take up Arms 
nor encourage Others to take up arms, in Opposition to His Authority." A photostat of 
one of the original imprints is in the Library of Congress from a copy in the archives 
of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Joseph Galloway, of Pennsylvania, was one of 
those who took advantage of this proclamation, and Richard Stockton, of New Jersey, 
was another. Galloway's conduct is described in the Narrative of Sir William Howe 
Before a Committee of the House of Commons (London: 1780), and Stockton's may 
be judged from John Witherspoon's letter to his son, David, Mar. 17, 1777, a pho- 
tograph of which is in the Library of Congress. 

"On December 3 Congress directed General Washington to postpone the exchange 
of Governor Franklin for General Thompson. 

"In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 


scarce, I would have you remain here till the whole of your Bri- 
gade comes up. In the meanwhile, keep me regularly advised of 
their arrival that I may endeavour to time other matters thereby. 

If they are not already properly arranged no time should be 
lost in doing of it; nor in compleating them with Ammunition; 
keep them regularly supplied with three days Provisions ready 
Cooked, that they may be ready to March at a Moments warning. 

The Marines, Sailors &ca. from Philadelphia you will take 
under your care till a further disposition of them can be made, 
if necessary, letting me know the meanwhile if they came out 
resolved to act upon Land or meant to confine their Services to 
the Water only. 

Delay no time in advising me of your strength, with sincere 
esteem, etc. [h.s.p.] 


Trenton, December 7, 1776. 
Sir : You are upon Receipt of this to cross the North River with 
the Troops under your Command in the Continental Service 
[to witParsons's Brigade] 43 and move on so as to give all possible 
Protection to the Country and Vigour to the Cause. If you could 
move on towards Morris Town in New Jersey it would be best, 
as by this Means a Junction may be made if necessary and at all 
Events such a Movement would attract Attention. I am in 
Haste, etc. 44 [ms.h.s.] 


Mr. Berkleys Summer seat, 45 December 8, 1776. 
Sir: Colo. Reed would inform you of the Intelligence which 
I first met with on the Road from Trenton to Princeton 

48 The words in brackets were added by Washington. 
**In the writing of Joseph Reed. 

45 Thomas Barclay's "Summer Seat" was in what is now Morrisville, Pa., opposite 
Trenton, N. J. The house was about half a mile from the Delaware River. 


Yesterday. 46 Before I got to the last mention'd place, I receivd a 
Second Express informing me, that as the Enemy were advanc- 
ing by different Routs, by one of which it appeard they were 
attempting to get in the Rear of the Troops at Princeton whose 
numbers, comparitively speaking, were small, and the place by 
no means defensible they had judgd it prudent to retreat to 
Trenton. The Retreat was accordingly made first to that place 
and since on this side of the River. 

This information I thought it my duty to communicate as 
soon as possible, as there is not a moment's time to be lost in 
Assembling such force as can be collected as the object of the 
Enemy cannot now, in the smallest degree, be doubted. Indeed 
I shall be out in my conjecture (for it is no more than conjec- 
ture) if the late Imbarkation at New York is not for Delaware, 
to co-operate with the Army under the immediate command 
of Genl. Howe who I am inf ormd from good authority is with 
the British Troops and his whole Force upon this Rout. 

I have no certain Intelligence of Genl Lee; although I have 
sent frequent Expresses to him and lately a Colo. Hampton to 
bring me some accurate Accts. of his Situation; last Night I 
dispatch'd another Gentn. to him, Major Hoops, 47 to desire he 
would hasten his March to the Delaware, at which I would 
provide Boats near a place called Alexandria for the Trans- 
portation of his Troops. I cannot acct. for the Slowness of 
his March. 48 

^Ford quotes from a letter of Greene to Washington (December 7) : "This moment 
a captain has returned that went to reconnoiter last night, and it is beyond a doubt 
the enemy are advancing; and my Lord Stirling thinks they will be up here by twelve 
o'clock." This letter is not in the Washington Papers in the Library of Congress. 

47 Maj. Robert Hoops, brigade major to General Dickinson. He was appointed 
Deputy Commissary General of Issues July 1, 1777; resigned Aug. 7, 1777. 

48 On December 8 Lee wrote to Washington, from Morristown, N. J.: "If I was not 
taught to think that your Army was considerably reinforced, I should immediately 
join you; but as I am assured you are very strong, I should imagine We can make a 
better impression by hanging on their rear, for which purpose, a good Post at Chatham 
seems the best calculated. It is at a happy distance from Newark, Elizabethtown, 


In the disorderd and moving State of the Army I cannot get 
returns; but from the best Accts we had between three thou- 
sand and 3500 before the Philadelphia Militia and German Bat- 
talion arrived [they amount to about two thousand.] 49 1 have &c. 


Falls of Delaware South Side, December 8, 1776. 

Sir : As it is a matter of the utmost Importance to prevent the 
Enemy from crossing the Delaware, and to effect it, that all 
the Boats and Water Craft should be secured or destroyed. I do 
hereby earnestly request and desire that you will take upon you 
the care and Superintendency of the Matter. At Tinicum, a 
parcel of Boats are to be collected for the Transportation of 
the Troops under the Command of Major General Lee; but 
of this as little should be said as possible, least the Enemy avail 
themselves of some Advantage from the Knowledge of it. These 
Boats should be kept under a strong Guard. The Boats at other 
places ought, in my Opinion, to be destroyed or removed to 
Tinicum, least they should be possessed by some Stratagem 
of the Enemy. 

You will see that the Regiment sent up to guard the hither 
Ferries are properly distributed and the Officers instructed. At 
the places of Passage above, you will endeavour from the Militia 
of this State or that of Jersey, to obtain sufficient Guards. In 

Woodbridge and Boundbrook. It will annoy, distract and consequently weaken 'em." 
He addressed a similar letter to the committee of Congress sent to learn his position 
and situation. On the same day, after Major Hoops had reached him, he again wrote 
to Washington: "I am extremely shocked to hear that your force is so inadequate to 
the necessity of your situation, as I had been taught to think you had been consid- 
erably reinforced." He pretended to believe that the main effort of the enemy was to 
be directed against the Eastern States, reporting that his information was that the 
British embarkation at New York had sailed eastward. On this account he concluded: 
"It will be difficult, I am afraid, to join you; but cannot I do you more service by 
attacking their rear? I shall look about me tomorrow and inform you further." 
49 Words in brackets not in the writing of Washington. 


order to do which, I do hereby invest you with all the powers 
intrusted to me for that purpose, and do moreover authorize 
you in the strongest terms to invite the Militia of both States, as 
Occasion may offer, to join this part of the Army, or that under 
the Command of Major General Lee, in the common defence 
of their rights, Liberty and property. 

Trusting in your Activity and care, in having all the Boats, 
as high up as there can be the least danger of their being pro- 
cured by, or for the use of the Enemy, secured or destroyed, and 
wishing you much success in it, I am, etc. 50 


Head Quarters, near Trenton, December 9, 1776. 
Gentlemen: I am informed by Colo. Hart, 51 that the Colonels 
of the Bucks County Militia have been directed by you, to march 
their Battalions to Philadelphia, to assist in the defence and 
preservation of this City. I had however, previous to this in- 
formation, wrote to the several Colonels, desiring they would 
without delay march their Men to this place, as I am convinced 
it will be attended with much advantage that they should join 
the Army here, where their assistance is essentially necessary. 
If you approve of the step I have taken you will please to signify 
it to the above mentioned Gentn. that no difficulty may arise in 
consequence of the different Orders. I am, etc. 52 


Head Quarters, Trenton Falls, December 9, 1776. 
Sir: I did myself the honor of writing to you yesterday and 
informing you that I had removed the Troops to this Side of 

50 The draft is in the writing of Tench Tilghman. 

61 Col. Joseph (?) Hart, of the Pennsylvania Battalion of the Flying Camp. He was 
taken prisoner at Fort Washington, N. Y., on November 16. 
52 In the writing of John Walker. 


the Delaware; soon after, the Enemy made their Appearance, 
and their Van entered, just as our Rear Guard quitted. We had 
removed all our Stores, except a few Boards. From the best 
Information, they are in two Bodies, one, at and near Trenton, 
the other some miles higher up, and inclining towards Dela- 
ware; but whether with intent to cross there, cv to throw them- 
selves between General Lee and me, is yet uncertain. I have this 
Morning detached Lord Stirling with his Brigade to take post 
at the different landing Places, and prevent them from Stealing 
a March upon us from above, for I am informed if they cross at 
Corrill's Ferry or thereabouts, they are as near to Philadelphia, 
as we are here. From Several Accounts, I am led to think, that 
the Enemy are bringing Boats with them; if so, it will be impos- 
sible for our Small Force to give them any considerable opposi- 
tion in the Passage of the River, indeed they may make a feint 
at one place, and by a Sudden removal carry their Boats higher 
or lower, before we can bring our Cannon up to play upon them. 
Under these Circumstances, the Security of Philadelphia should 
be our next object. From my own remembrance, but more from 
Information (for I never viewed the Ground) I should think 
that a Communication of Lines and Redoubts might soon be 
formed from the Delaware to Schuylkill on the North entrance 
of the City. The Lines to begin on the Schuylkill side about 
the Heights of Springatsbury and run Eastward to Delaware, 
upon the most advantageous and commanding Grounds. If 
something of this kind is not done, the Enemy might, in case 
any Misfortune should befall us; march directly in and take 
possession. We have ever found, that Lines however Slight, are 
very formidable to them, they would at least give a Check till 
people could recover of the Fright and Consternation that 
naturally attends the first Appearance of an Enemy. 

In the mean time, every step should be taken to collect Force 
not only from Pennsylvania but from the most neighbourly 


States; if we can keep the Enemy from entering Philadelphia 
and keep the Communication by Water open, for Supplies, we 
may yet make a stand, if the Country will come to our Assist- 
ance, till our New Levies can be collected. 

If the Measure of fortifying the City should be adopted, some 
skillful person should immediately view the Grounds and begin 
to trace out the Lines and Works. I am informed there is a 
French Engineer 53 of eminence in Philadelphia at this time. If 
so, he will be the most proper. I have the honor to be, etc. 

P. S. I have just received the inclosed from Genl. Heath. 
Genl. Mifflin is this Moment come up and tells me, that all the 
Military Stores yet remain in Philadelphia. This makes the im- 
mediate fortifying of the City so necessary, that I have desired 
Genl Mifflin to return, to take charge of the Stores and have 
ordered Major Genl Putnam immediately down 54 to superin- 
tend the Works and give the necessary directions. 55 


Trenton Falls, December 10, 1776. 
Dear Sir: I last night received your favor by Colo. Humpton, 
and were it not for the weak and feeble state of the force I have, 
I should highly approve of your hanging on the Rear of the 
Enemy and establishing the post you mention; But when my 
situation is directly opposite to what you suppose it to be, and 
when Genl. Howe is pressing forward with the whole of his 
Army, except the Troops that were lately embarked and a few 
besides, left at New York, to possess himself of Philadelphia; 

'"Possibly Thaddeus Kosciuszko, who had been commissioned a colonel of Engi- 
neers on October 18 and on December 5 voted a month's pay. 

"Ford states that Putnam took command on the 12th and established martial law. 
A letter from him, dated Philadelphia, Dec. 12, 1776, describing the condition of 
affairs in the city, is in the Washington Papers. 

55 In the writing of Tench Tilghman. 



I cannot but request and entreat you and this too, by the advice 
of all the Genl. Officers with me, to march and join me with 
all your whole force, with all possible expedition. The utmost 
exertions that can be made, will not be more than sufficient to 
save Philadelphia. Without the aid of your force, I think there 
is but little, if any, prospect of doing it. I refer you to the 
Route Majr. Hoops would inform you of. The Enemy are now 
extended along the Delaware at several places. By a prisoner 
who was taken last night, I am told, that at Penny Town there 
are two Battalions of Infantry, three of Granadiers, The Hes- 
sian Granadiers,42d.of Highlanders and 2 others. Their object 
doubtless, is to pass the river above us, or to prevent your join- 
ing me. I mention this that you may avail yourself of the infor- 
mation. 56 Do come on, your arrival may be happy, and if it can 
be effected without delay, may be the means of preserving a 
City, whose loss must prove of the most fatal consequences to 
the cause of America. I am &c. 

P. S. Pray exert your influence and bring with you all the 
Jersey Militia you possibly can, let them not suppose their State 

58 The design of the British in their push across Jersey is clear only in a general way. 
After possessing Brunswick, it seems that they were led on in their advance by the 
lack of opposition from Washington, the destruction of whose army was, necessarily, 
a main object. Ford quotes from Sir William Howe's letter to Lord George Germain 
(December 29) : 

" On the 7th, Lord Cornwallis' corps . . . marched to Princeton, which the enemy 
had quitted on the same day. This corps marched in two divisions on the 8th; the 
first advancing to Trenton reached the Delaware soon after the enemy's rear guard 
had crossed; their main army, having passed the preceding day and night, took post 
on the other side of the river. Lord Cornwallis with the rear division, halted at 
Maidenhead, six miles from Trenton, and marched at one o'clock next morning to 
Corryell's Ferry, thirteen miles higher up the Delaware, in some expectation of find- 
ing boats there, and in the neighborhood, sufficient to pass the river, but in this he 
was disappointed, the enemy having taken the precaution to destroy or to secure on 
the south side all the boats that could possibly be employed for this purpose." Corn- 
wallis then took post at" Pennington, remaining there till the 14th, when severe 
weather warned him of the necessity of going into winter quarters. "The chain 
I own, is rather too extensive, but I was induced to occupy Burlington, to cover the 
county of Monmouth, in which there are many loyal inhabitants; and trusting to 
the almost general submission of the country to the southward of this chain, and 
to the strength of the corps placed in the advanced posts, I conclude the troops will 
be in perfect security." 


is lost or in any danger because the Enemy are pushing thro' it, 
if you think Genl. St. Clair or Genl. Maxwell would be of 
service to command 'em, I would send either. 57 


Head Quarters, Falls of Delaware, December 10, 1776. 

Sir : Since I had the honor of addressing you yesterday, noth- 
ing of importance has occurred. In respect to the Enemy's 
movements, no other Information has been obtained, than that 
they have a Number of parties patrolling up and down the 
River (particularly the former). As yet they have not at- 
tempted to pass, nor do their patrols tho some are exceedingly 
small meet with the least interruption from the Inhabitants 
of Jersey. 

By a Letter received last night from Genl Lee of the 8th 
Instt., he was then at Morris Town, where he entertained 
thoughts of establishing a Post; But on receiving my dispatches 
by Major Hoops, I should suppose he would be convinced of 
the Necessity of his proceeding this way with all the Force he 
can bring. I have the honor &c. 

P. S. 9 O'clock A. M. This minute I received information, 
that the Enemy were repairing the Bridges [which had been 
taken up,] three or four Miles below Trenton, which seems to 
indicate an intention of their passing lower down and suggests 
to me the necessity that some attention should be had to the 
Fort at Billingsport; less they should possess themselve of it, 
the consideration of which I beg leave to submit to Congress. 
I have wrote to the Council of Safety on the Subject. 58 

67 The draft is in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 

68 Both the letter sent and draft are in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. The 
latter varies in many unimportant verbal particulars from the above, the most im- 
portant of which is the phrase in brackets, which is omitted from the letter sent. 



[Trenton Falls, December 10?, 1776] 

The General desires that Brigadiers Lord Stirling, Mercer, 
Stephen and de Fermoy do, respectively, Quarter their Brigades 
in Houses or Hutts as compactly as possibly, that they may be 
soon form'd, and ready for action at the shortest notice of the 
approach of the Enemy. Each Brigadier is to take care of his 
own Front, and keep strong Guards at all the convenient pass- 
ing places; the intermediate spaces between the Brigades, are 
to be attended to by the Brigadiers next adjoining. 

This order is not intended to withdraw the German Battalion 
(now annex'd to Genl. Fermoys Brigade) from the Posts they 
at present Guard. 

The Brigadiers are to use their utmost endeavours to have 
the Men got under the best cover they can, consistent with the 
above order for Quartering them compactly, and, as it does not 
admit of a doubt but that the Enemys attempt to cross the 
River will be conducted with the utmost secrecy and expedi- 
tion, they cannot possible use too much vigilance and caution 
with their Guards. 

That no Intelligence may be conveyed to the Enemy that can 
be avoided, no person is to pass the River but by written leave 
from the Brigadier in the district he commands, or a verbal 
message from him by an Officer to the Guard who has charge 
of the Boats. Colo. Housaker 59 is to observe this Rule, at the 
upper Ferry. 

That the Recruiting Service may not be retarded, each Briga- 
dier is to see that as many Officers (under the New Appoint- 
ment) 60 as can be spared from their respective Regimts. be sent 

89 Col. Nicholas Hausseger, German Battalion, was stationed at Coryell's Ferry. 
60 The service to commence Jan. i, 1777. 


upon that Service, the Colo, or Commanding Officer of the 
Regiment to which they belong may apply for Money to Re- 
cruit with, and furnish them therewith. 

The Brigade Majors are to fix with the Adjutant General or 
his Assistant upon a place to receive the daily Orders and be 
punctual in their attendance at the hour of Eleven as the dis- 
tance will now be great for some of the Brigade Majors to 
come and their duty in other respects render it inconvenient 
they may send a Commissiond Officer for the Orders; but to 
none other will they be given. 


Head Quarters, Trenton Falls, December 10, 1776. 

Sir: Yours of last evening reached me at 4 OClock this 
Morning. I immediately sent orders to Commodore Seymour, 61 
to dispatch one of his Gallies down to Dunk's Ferry, and I shall 
dispose of the remainder in such manner, and at such places, 
as will be most likely, not only to annoy the Enemy in then- 
passage, but to give the earliest Information of any attempt of 
that kind. Parties of the Enemy have been reconnoitring both 
up and down the River, and I imagine it has been one of those 
parties that have appeared near Burlington; for as they have 
not found the least Opposition from the people of Jersey, they 
venture very far from their Main Body; which from the best 
Information, still lays about Trenton and above it. 

I have desired Col. Humpton, who is the Bearer of this, to 
apply for a Party of Men, to go up Cooper's and Ancocus 62 
Creeks, and bring down all the Craft he may find there; for it 
is in vain to cut down Bridges, if the Boats are left; they cannot 

'"Commodore Thomas Seymour. He commanded the Pennsylvania State Navy. 
62 Cooper Creek in Camden County, N. J., directly opposite Philadelphia, and Ran- 
cocas Creek in Burlington County, N. J., 10 miles or so above Philadelphia. 


be trusted to the Owners, for if an Enemy was to appear, such 
is their fear, that they would deliver them up, upon the first 

I think that the Fort began at Billingsport should be attended 
to; if there is not a party already there, one should be sent 
under a good Officer, who would not too readily take the alarm 
and come off; for you may depend, that only small Bodies will 
be sent to that Distance. But I have always found, that the In- 
telligence brought by people not used to see Men in Arms, has 
always magnified numbers exceedingly, and on this Head the 
officer should be guarded, not to trust to Report, but be well 
Satisfied himself before he gives up his post. 

Having sent down Major General Putnam to throw up 
necessary Works for the Defence of your City, I hope you will 
co-operate with him, and give him every assistance in your 
Power to expedite so necessary an Operation. I have the honor 
to be, etc. 63 


Falls of Delaware, South Side, December 10, 1776. 

Dear Lund: 

# # # # * 

I wish to Heaven it was in my power to give you a more 
favorable account of our situation than it is. Our numbers, 
quite inadequate to the task of opposing that part of the army 
under the command of General Howe, being reduced by sick- 
ness, desertion, and political deaths (on or before the first in- 
stant, and having no assistance from the militia), were obliged 
to retire before the enemy, who were perfectly well informed 
of our situation, till we came to this place, where I have no 
idea of being able to make a stand, as my numbers, till joined 

03 The draft is in the writing of Tench Tilghman. 


by the Philadelphia militia, did not exceed three thousand men 
fit for duty. Now we may be about five thousand to oppose 
Howe's whole army, that part of it excepted which sailed under 
the command of Gen. Clinton. I tremble for Philadelphia. 
Nothing, in my opinion, but Gen. Lee's speedy arrival, who has 
been long expected, though still at a distance (with about three 
thousand men), can save it. We have brought over and de- 
stroyed all the boats we could lay our hands on upon the Jersey 
shore for many miles above and below this place; but it is next 
to impossible to guard a shore for sixty miles, with less than 
half the enemy's numbers; when by force or strategem they 
may suddenly attempt a passage in many different places. At 
present they are encamped or quartered along the other shore 
above and below us (rather this place, for we are obliged to 
keep a face towards them) for fifteen miles. * * * 

December 17, ten miles above the Falls. 
# * * I have since moved up to this place, to be more con- 
venient to our great and extensive defences of this river. Hith- 
erto, by our destruction of the boats, and vigilance in watching 
the fords of the river above the falls (which are now rather 
high), we have prevented them from crossing; but how long 
we shall be able to do it God only knows, as they are still 
hovering about the river. And if every thing else fails, will 
wait till the 1st of January, when there will be no other men 
to oppose them but militia, none of which but those from 
Philadelphia, mentioned in the first part of the letter, are yet 
come (although I am told some are expected from the back 
counties). When I say none but militia, I am to except the 
Virginia regiments and the shattered remains of Smallwood's, 
which, by fatigue, want of clothes, &c, are reduced to noth- 
ing— Weedon's, which was the strongest, not having more than 
between one hundred and thirty to one hundred and forty men 



fit for duty, the rest being in the hospitals. The unhappy policy 
of short enlistments and a dependence upon militia will, I fear, 
prove the downfall of our cause, though early pointed out with 
an almost prophetic spirit ! Our cause has also received a severe 
blow in the captivity of Gen. Lee. Unhappy man! Taken by 
his own imprudence, going three or four miles from his own 
camp, and within twenty of the enemy, notice of which by a 
rascally Tory was given a party of light horse seized him in the 
morning after travelling all night, and carried him off in high 
triumph and with every mark of indignity, not even suffering 
him to get his hat or surtout coat. The troops that were under 
his command are not yet come up with us, though they, I think, 
may be expected to-morrow. A large part of the Jerseys have 
given every proof of disaffection that they can do, and this part 
of Pennsylvania are equally inimical. In short, your imagina- 
tion can scarce extend to a situation more distressing than 
mine. Our only dependence now is upon the speedy enlistment 
of a new army. If this fails, I think the game will be pretty well 
up, as, from disaffection and want of spirit and fortitude, the 
inhabitants, instead of resistance, are offering submission and 
taking protection from Gen. Howe in Jersey. * * * Iam&c. 64 


Head Quarters, Falls of Delaware, December n, 1776. 
Sir: From the Movement of the Enemy downwards, I think 
it highly necessary that the Post at Dunks's Ferry should be 
guarded. I therefore desire that one of the Battalions of your 
Brigade may immediately march, and take post at that place. 
If it is agreeable to you I would chuse, the 3d. Battalion under 
the Command of Lt. Colonel Nixon. 65 The other two Battalions 

w The text is from Ford, who printed it from the copy made in 1 862 from the original 
by C. F. Lee, jr., of Alexandria, Va. The whereabouts of the original is unknown. 
05 John ( ?) Nixon, of the Pennsylvania Associators. 


should be under Orders to march at a Moments Warning. I ex- 
pect the pleasure of your Company at dinner; but if you cannot 
come, as soon after as it is convenient. lam, etc. 66 [h.s.p.3 


Trenton Falls, December n, 1776. 
Dear Sir: Your favor of the 8th. the Light Horseman 
reached me last night. Having wrote you fully respecting my 
Situation just before it came to hand, it is unnecessary to add 
much now; I shall only say that Philadelphia, beyond all ques- 
tion, is the object of the Enemy's movements and that noth- 
ing less than our utmost exertions, will be sufficient to prevent 
Genl. Howe from possessing it. The force I have is weak and 
entirely incompetent to that end. I must therefore entreat you 
to push on with every possible succour you can bring. Your aid 
may give a more favourable complexion to our affairs. You 
know the importance of the City of Philadelphia and the fatal 
consequences that must attend the loss of it. 67 I am &c. 6 



Trenton Falls, December 11, 1776. 
Dear Sir: Being desirous of effecting an Exchange of Pris- 
oners as far as Circumstances will admit of, I shall be much 

68 In the writing of Tench Tilghman. 

67 Ford states that this letter did not reach Lee. On December n Lee wrote a short 
note to Washington, in the third person, from Morristown, N. J., that his force was 
3,000 strong, but had been obliged to halt for two days for want of shoes: "General 
Lee has sent two Officers this day — one to inform him where the Delaware can be 
crossed above Trenton — the other to examine the road towards Burlington as General 
Lee thinks He can without great risk cross the great Brunswick Post road and by a 
forced Nights march make his way to the ferry below Burlington. Boats should be 
sent up from Philadelphia to receive him — but this scheme He only proposes if the 
head of the Enemy's Column actually pass the River — the Militia in this part of 
the Province seem sanguine — if They could be sure of an Army remaining amongst 
em I believe They wou'd raise a very considerable number." This letter is in the 
Washington Papers. 

68 The draft is in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 


obliged by your transmitting to me by the earliest Opportunity, 
the Names and Ranks of the Officers who were released on 
parole by Genl. Carleton. I presume you have a list in which 
they are specified and without which, I cannot point out to 
Genl. Howe, the Officers who should be discharged from their 
paroles, in lieu of those who have been and will be sent in by 
us. I am &c. 

P. S. Your exchange for Govr. Franklin has been proposed 
to Genl. Howe, who has returned no answer as yet. 69 


Head Quarters, Falls of Delaware, December n, 1776. 
Sir : After I had wrote you Yesterday, I received certain Infor- 
mation that the Enemy, after repairing Croswicks Bridge, had 
advanced a party of about five hundred to Bordentown; by 
their taking this Rout, it confirms me in my opinion, that they 
have an Intention to land between this and Philadelphia, as 
well as above, if they can procure Boats for that Purpose. I last 
night directed Commodore Seymour, to Station all his Gallies 
between Bordentown and Philadelphia, to give the earliest In- 
telligence of any Appearance of the Enemy on the Jersey Shore. 
I yesterday rode up the River about 11 Miles to Lord Stirling's 
post, where I found a prisoner of the 426. Regiment, who had 
been just brought in; he informed me that Lord Cornwallis 
was at Penny Town, with two Battalions of Grenadiers and 
three of Light Infantry, all British; the Hessian Grenadiers the 
42d Highland Regiment and two other Battalions the names 
of which he did not remember. He knew nothing of the rea- 
sons of their being assembled there, nor what were their future 
Intentions; but I last nightreceived Information from my Lord 
Stirling, which had been brought in by his Scouts, which in 
some Measure accounted for their being there. They had made 

69 The draft is in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 


a forced March from Trenton on Sunday Night to Coryell's 
Ferry, in hopes of Surprising a Sufficient Number of Boats 
to transport them, but finding themselves disappointed, had 
marched back to Penny Town, where they remained yesterday. 
From their Several Attempts to seize Boats, it does not look as if 
they had brought any with them, as I was at one time informed. 
I last Night sent a person over to Trenton, to learn whether 
there was any appearance of building any, but he could not 
perceive any preparations for a work of that kind. So that I am 
in Hopes, if proper Care is taken to keep all the Craft out 
of their way, they will find the crossing Delaware, a Matter of 
considerable Difficulty. 

I received another Letter from General Lee last Evening, it 
was dated at Chatham (which I take to be near Morris Town) 
the 8th. of this Month, he had then received my Letter sent 
by Major Hoops, but seemed still inclined to hang upon the 
Enemy's Rear, to which I should have no Objection had I a 
sufficient force to oppose them in Front; but as I have not at 
present, nor do I see much probability of further Reinforce- 
ments, I have wrote to him in the most pressing Terms, to join 
me with all Expedition. 

Major Sheldon 70 who commands the Volunteer Horse from 
Connecticut, waits upon Congress, to establish some mode of 
Pay. I can only say, that the Service of himself and his Troop, 
has been such as merits the warmest Thanks of the public and 
deserves a handsome Compensation for their Trouble. What- 
ever is Settled now, will serve for a precedent in future. From the 
Experience I have had this Campaign, of the Utility of Horse, 
I am Convinced there is no carrying on the War without 
them, and I would therefore recommend the Establishment 

T0 Maj. Elisha Sheldon. He was commandant of Connecticut Light Horse, Dec. 12, 
1776; colonel of the Second Continental Dragoons; served to end of the war. 


of one or more Corps, (in proportion to the Number of 
Foot) in Addition to those already raised in Virginia. If Major 
Sheldon would undertake the Command of a Regiment of 
Horse on the Continental Establishment, I believe he could 
very soon raise them, and I can recommend him as a Man 
of Activity and Spirit, from what I have seen of him. I have 
the honor to be &c. T1 


Head Quarters, Trenton Falls, December 12, 1776. 
Sir: I was, a few days ago, favoured with yours of the 30th. 
last month) 72 and this is the first Opportunity that afforded me 
the pleasure of answering it. The Event has shewn, that my 
Opinion, of General Howe's Intentions to make an Excursion 
into Jersey, was not ill founded. Immediately after the Reduc- 
tion of Fort Washington, he threw a Body of Men, consisting 
of about 6.000 over the North River, with an Intention to sur- 
prise the Garrison of Fort Lee; but they withdrew before he 
could accomplish his purpose. Finding the few Troops, I had 
with me, insufficient to oppose the Enemy, and knowing that 
my numbers would still be diminished by the Expiration of 
the Service of the flying Camp Men from Jersey, Maryland, 
and Pennsylvania, which would take Place on the last day of 
November; it was determined to retreat as far as Brunswick; 
where I hoped to receive a Reinforcement from the Militia of 
the State of New Jersey, sufficient to check the further progress 
of the Enemy. But in this I was cruelly disappointed. The In- 
habitants of this State, either from fear or disaffection, almost 

"In the writing of Tench Tilghman. The draft, also by Tilghman, varies in minor 
verbal details from the letter sent. 

^Trumbull's letter, outlining the Connecticut arrangements for supplying her 
troops, dated Nov. 30, 1776, is in the Washington Papers. 


to a Man refused to turn out; and I could not bring together 
above 1.000 Men; and, even on these, very little dependance was 
to be put. My Numbers were now reduced to three thousand 
Men, and that of the Enemy considerably increased by fresh 
reinforcements. I had sent General Mifflin down to Philadel- 
phia, to raise what Force he could in that Province and send 
them on, with all speed to my Assistance. I fell down myself 
to Trenton, in order to wait for Supplies, hoping that such 
Numbers would come in from Pennsylvania, as would enable 
me to turn upon the Enemy, and recover most of the Ground 
which they had gained. General Mifflin was very Successful 
with the Militia of Philadelphia, who turned out in a very 
Spirited Manner, and immediately Marched about 1.500 Men 
up to Trenton; but the remainder of the Province continues 
in a State of Supineness; nor do I see any likely hood of their 
stiring, to save their own Capital, which is undoubtedly Gen- 
eral Howe's great object. The Delaware now parts the two 
Armies; and nothing hinders the passage of the Enemy, but 
the Want of Boats, which we have been lucky enough to secure. 
General Lee is still in the rear of the Enemy, with about four 
thousand Men, with whom he is on his March to join me; if he 
can effect this junction, our Army will again make a respectable 
appearance, and such as, I hope, will disappoint the Enemy in 
their plan upon Philadelphia. I sent down General Putnam, a 
few days ago, to begin upon some works for the defence of that 
City; upon the Salvation of which our Cause almost depends. 
I am informed that the Inlistment of the New Army goes 
on very Successfully to the Eastward and Southward; little or 
nothing can be expected from New York or Jersey, which are, 
for the most part, in the Hands of the Enemy. Every thing 
must depend upon the regular Force we can bring into the 
Field in the Spring; for I find, from fatal Experience, that 
Militia serve only to delude us. 


As my Distance from the Eastern Governments makes me 
ignorant of their present Circumstances; I will not undertake to 
direct the Disposition of the four Regiments, you have Ordered 
to be raised, till the 15th March. I would only recommend, if 
they can be spared, that they should March and take post at 
the Highlands and at the Forts upon the North River, as much 
depends still upon keeping possession of the upper part of that 
River. I highly approve of your Plan, for supplying your New 
Army with Necessaries; our old one has suffered considerably 
for want of some such wholesome Regulations; you may de- 
pend upon my giving due Countenance to such a commendable 
Scheme. I am etc. 73 


Trenton Falls, December 12, 1776. 
Sir: I last night received the favor of Mr. Thomson's Letter, 
inclosing the proceedings of Congress of the nth. Inst. As the 
publication of their Resolve, in my opinion, will not lead to any 
good end, but on the contrary, may be attended with some bad 
consequences, I shall take the liberty to decline inserting it in 
this days Orders, [unless I am requested again to do it]. I am 
persuaded, if the subject is taken up and reconsidered, that 
Congress will concur with me in Sentiment. I doubt not but 
there are some who have propagated the report, but what if 
they have ? Their remaining in or leaving Philadelphia must 
be governed by Circumstances and events; If their departure 
should become necessary, it will be right; On the other hand, 
if there should not be a necessity for it, [and if necessity should 
not proclaim the measure prudent,] they will [not] remain 
[depart,] and their continuance will shew the report to be 
the production of Calumny and Falsehood. In a word, Sir, I 

73 The draft is in the writing of Tench Tilghman. 


conceive it a matter that may be as well [be] disregarded, and 
that the removal or staying of Congress, depending entirely 
upon events should not have been the Subject of a Resolve. 74 

The intelligence we obtain respecting the Movements and 
situation of the Enemy is far from being so certain and satis- 
factory as I could wish, tho' every probable means in my power 
and that I can devise are adopted for that purpose. The latest 
I have received was from Lord Stirling last night, he says that 
two Grenadiers of the Inniskilling Regiment who were taken 
and brought in by some Countrymen, inform that Genls. Howe, 
Cornwallis, Vaughan 75 &c. with about 6000 of the flying Army 
were at Penny Town waiting for Pontoons to come up, with 
which they mean to pass the River near the Blue Mounts, or at 
Correls Ferry, they believe the latter. That the two Battalions 
of Guards were at Brunswick and the Hessian Grenadiers, 

74 The nervousness of Congress increased as the British advanced. Curious resolu- 
tions were passed. One (December 10) directed Washington and Putnam in military 
matters; another (December n) appointed a day of fasting and humiliation, recom- 
mending to "all the members of the United States, and particularly the officers civil 
and military under them, the exercise of repentance and reformation," the strict obser- 
vation of the Articles of War, and particularly of those forbidding profane swearing 
and all immorality. By another (December 12) all the vessels in the harbor were 
placed at the disposal of Putnam. Continental stores were directed to be removed, 
and a bold front assumed by directing that the city be defended " to the utmost ex- 
tremity." On December n it was resolved that: "Whereas a false and malicious report 
hath been spread by the enemies of America that the Congress was about to disperse: 
Resolved, That General Washington be desired to contradict the said scandalous re- 
port in general orders, this Congress having a better opinion of the spirit and vigour 
of the army, and of the good people of these states than to suppose it can be necessary 
to disperse. Nor will they adjourn from the city of Philadelphia in the present state 
of affairs, unless the last necessity shall direct it." Charles Thomson, Secretary of 
Congress, sent this resolve to Washington December 11. This resolve is in the Wash- 
ington Papers. 

On December 12 Congress resolved: "That, until the Congress shall otherwise 
order, General Washington be possessed of full power to order and direct all things 
relative to the department, and to the operations of war." (See Washington's letter to 
Congress, Dec. 27, 1776, post.) 

Congress adjourned to Baltimore on December 12 and on December 21 "Resolved, 
That Mr. President inform General Washington by letter, that Congress approve his 
conduct in not publishing in general orders the resolve of Congress of the 1 1 instant." 
Both this resolve and the previous one of December 1 1 have been crossed out in the 
manuscript Journals of the Continental Congress, but a copy of that of December 21, 
signed by John Hancock, President, is in the Washington Papers. 

7 Sir John Vaughan, colonel of the Forty-sixth Foot, British Army, with the rank of 
major general in America. 


Chasseurs and a Regiment or two of British Troops are at 
Trenton. Capt. Miller 76 of Colo. Hand's Regiment also informs 
me, that a body of the Enemy were marching to Burlington on 
Yesterday Morning. He had been sent over with a strong 
Scouting Party and at day break, fell in with their advanced 
Guards consisting of about 400 Hessian Troops who fired upon 
him before they were discovered, but without any loss and 
obliged him to retreat and with his party to take boat. The 
Number of the whole he could not ascertain, but they appeared 
to be considerable. Captn. Miller's Account is partly Con- 
firmed by Commodore Seymour who reports that four or five 
hundred of the Enemy had entered the Town. Upon the whole 
their can be no doubt, but that Philadelphia is their object and 
that they will pass the Delaware, as soon as possible. Happy 
should I be, if I could see the means of preventing them. At 
present I confess I do not. All Military Men agree, that it is a 
work of great difficulty, nay impracticable, where there is any 
extent of Coast to guard. This is the case with us and we have 
to do it, with a force small and inconsiderable and much in- 
ferior to that of the Enemy. Perhaps Congress have some hope 
and prospect of Reinforcements; I have no intelligence of the 
sort and wish to be informed on the Subject. Our little handfull 
is daily decreasing by sickness and other causes, and without 
aid, without considerable Succours and exertions on the part of 
the people, what can we reasonably look for or expect, but an 
event that will be severely felt by the Common cause and that 
will wound the Heart of every Virtuous American, the loss of 
Philadelphia. The Subject is disagreeable, but yet it is true. 
I will leave it, wishing that our situation may become such as 
to do away [with] the apprehensions, which at this time fill the 
minds of too many and with too much justice. 

76 Capt. Henry Miller, of the First Continental Infantry. He rose to lieutenant colonel 
of the First Pennsylvania Regiment and resigned in December, 1778. 


By a Letter from General Heath dated at Peeks Kills the 
8th, I am advised that Lt. Colo. Vose 77 was then there with 
Greaton's 78 Bond's 79 and Porter's 80 Regiments, amounting in 
the whole to between 5 and 600 Men, who were coming this 
way, he adds that Genls. Gates and Arnold would be at Goshen 
that night, with Stark's, Poor's and Read's Regiments, but for 
what purpose he does not mention. 

The Inclosed Extract of a Letter, which I received last night, 
contains intelligence of an agreeable nature, I wish to hear of 
its confirmation by the arrival of the Several prizes; that with 
Cloathing and Arms will be an invaluable acquisition. 81 

I shall be glad to be advised of the mode I am to observe in 
paying the Officers, Whether they are to be allowed to draw 
the pay lately established and from what time or how long 
they are to be paid, under the old establishment. A pay 
Roll which was presented yesterday being made up for the 
men, has given rise to these propositions. Upon my objecting 
to it, [without having the direction of Congress upon the Sub- 
ject] I was told that Congress or the Board of War had estab- 
lished the precedent by paying the 6th Regiment of Virginia 
Troops commanded by Colo. Buckner 82 agreeable to the latter 
[under the New Establishment,] as they came thro' Philadel- 
phia. I have the Honor &c. 83 

77 Lieut. Col. Joseph Vose, of the Twenty-fourth Continental Infantry. He was 
colonel of the First Massachusetts Regiment in January, 1777, and served to the end 
of the war. 

78 Col. John Greaton, of the Twenty-fourth Continental Infantry. 

"Col. William Bond, of the Twenty-fifth Continental Infantry. 

80 Col. Elisha Porter, of a Massachusetts militia regiment. 

81 The reported capture was that of a ship with 3,000 stands of arms and 10,000 
suits of clothing. The extract is filed with Washington's letter in the Papers of the 
Continental Congress. 

82 Col. Mordecai Buckner, of the Sixth Virginia Regiment. 

83 Both the draft and letter sent are in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison and 
show plainly the strain at headquarters. The draft is unusually altered and is entered 
on three different pieces of paper, showing two false starts. The letter sent varies 




Head Quarters, near Trenton Falls, December 12, 1776. 

Dear Sir : Your letter of the 8th. Instt. has come duly to hand, 
and I am glad to hear, that Greaton's, Bond's and Porter's Regi- 
ments are coming forward to join me; at the same time I must 
acknowledge I should have been much better satisfied, if they 
had contained a greater number of men than what you have 
mentioned, your sending them on, with all possible expedition, 
was exceedingly proper; indeed no time is to be lost, as the 
necessity of our affairs at present requires an immediate aug- 
mentation of our force. 

I have observed, in your letter, you have mentioned, the arrival 
of Generals Gates and Arnold at Goshen, with Patterson's, 
Starks, Poors and Reads Regiments, but have not mentioned 
whether they are on their march to join us; though I conjecture 
that this is the case from the route they have taken. As every 
thing ought to be attempted for the preservation of Philadel- 
phia, I hope these Troops will make all imaginable haste to get 
here in time to be of service. Our situation at present in this 
Quarter is truly critical; our Army (as you have been informed) 
has been greatly diminished ;]The Troops composing the flying 
camp have mostly gone home, and we have as yet received 
very little assistance except from the Philadelphia Militia; The 
Enemy under the Command of Genls. Howe, Cornwallis and 
Vaughan, amounting to about twelve thousand, are posted at 
Trenton, Penny Town and downwards towards Borden Town, 
waiting for an Opportunity to cross over; Their Views are to 
get possession of Philadelphia, however it is very probable they 

considerably in phraseology, but not in sense, from the draft. The most important 
variations are shown, the words within the brackets in the foregoing having been 
omitted from the letter sent. 

-} v" p 


will considerably extend them unless we can procure a suffi- 
cient force to oppose their progress. I am &c. 

P. S. With respect to the Officers of one State inlisting the 
Soldiers of another, it is not to be allowed of, and as to the con- 
valescents you will use your own discretion. 84 


Head Quarters at Trenton Falls, December 12, 1776. 
Sir: You will post your Troops at Yardley's ferry or some 
where near it, find out the fording place there and have a 
Redoubt thrown up immediately. You and General Ewing 
must divide the ground between Trenton Falls and your post, 
and establish the proper Guards and Patrols to watch the En- 
emy's motions; you will spare no pains or Expence to obtain 
Intelligence. All promises made or Monies advanced, shall be 
fully complyed with and discharged. Every piece of Intelli- 
gence worthy notice you obtain, forward it to me by Express. 
Let the Troops always have three days provision cooked before 
hand, and keep them together, as much as possible, night and 
day, that they may be in readiness in the shortest notice to make 
head against the Enemy. Should they attempt to land on this 
side you will give them all the Opposition in your power; 
should you be routed from your post you are to repair to the 
strong Grounds at German Town, unless you can possibly join 
the upper or lower division of the Army, which, if practicable, 
you are to do. Be particularly attentive to the Boats and other 
Vessels, and suffer no person to pass over to the Jerseys here 
without a permit. 80 

84 The draft is in the writing of William Grayson. The letter sent, also in Grayson's 
writing, is in the archives of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and has in the 
P. S. the additional sentence: "Please to forwd. the inclosed to Governor Trumbull, as 
soon as possible." 

80 The draft is in the writing of George Lewis and Samuel Blatchley Webb. 



Bucks County, December 12, 1776. 

Sir: The inclosed Lists 86 which I have taken the Liberty of 
transmitting comprehend the Officers belonging to your Army 
who were returned on the 4th, 7th. and 8th. current, by Col. 
Moylan, in pursuance of my direction. I have affixed against 
their names such belonging to us, as I wish to have released, 
and who are of the same rank, except in the Instance of Colo. 
Allen. 87 His exchange on account of his long imprisonment, 
I have been particularly instructed to propose. 

The Officers whose enlargement I now require, are chiefly 
on parole and of those who were sent from Canada by Genl. 
Carleton. In respect to the privates, you will be pleased to direct 
an equal number to be returned, out of those who were made 
Prisoners on Long Island on the 27th of August, including six 
Volunteers described in one of the Lists. 

I thank you for the ready attention that was had to the return 
of Major Bird 88 and others who came out with him, in exchange 
for the Officers who went from Brunswick, but I must request 
that upon any future Occasions, the particular Officers to be re- 
turned shall be of my appointment, or some person authorized 
for the purpose. 

I cannot conclude this Letter, without mentioning the severe 
Treatment of Monsr. Wiebert. 89 This Gentleman, was made 
prisoner on the 16th. Ulto. with the Garrison on York Island 
and who holds the Rank of a Lieut: Colo: in our service, I am 

83 Copies of these lists are not now found in the Washington Papers. 

87 Col. Ethan Allen. 

88 Maj. Edward Burd, of the Pennsylvania Battalion of the Flying Camp. He had 
been taken prisoner at Long Island, N. Y. 

j-.r Liei L t ' Co {\ Antoine FeIix Wuibert. He seems to have been mistreated because he 
did not have his commission with him when captured. Putnam forwarded the com- 
mission to Washington in a letter (December 12) from Philadelphia. It is in the 
Washington Papers. 


credibly informed has been committed to the Provoost Guard 
and is there suffering all the inconveniences of a Gaol. 

I am persuaded, this Treatment is without your Knowledge 
and that the Complaint will be removed, as soon as it is dis- 
covered. I am Sir, etc. 90 


Head Quarters at Trenton Falls, December 12, 1776. 

Sir: Your Brigade is to guard the River Delaware from the 
Ferry opposite to Bordentown till you come within two Miles 
or thereabouts of Yardleys Mill, to which General Dickinson's 
command will extend. 

About One hundred, or a hundred and fifty men, will, I 
should think, be sufficient at the post opposite to Borden Town, 
the principal part of your Force, should be as convenient as 
possible to the Ford above Hoops's Mill, in order that if a 
passage should be attempted at that place you may give the 
earliest and most spirited opposition, the success of which de- 
pending upon good intelligence, and the vigilance of your 
Guards and Sentries, will induce you to use every means in 
your power to procure the first, and every endeavour to enforce 
and encourage the latter. 

Between Borden Town and the Mill, and from the Mill to 
the extent of your Line above, you are to have intermediate 
Guards and Gentries, who are to be as attentive as possible, in 
discovering and informing you of every movement of the 
Enemy; constant patroles are also to pass, In a word, so much 
depends upon watchfulness that you cannot possibly be too 
much upon your Guard. 

As the Ford from the Jersey Shore, leads on to the upper end 
of the Island adjoining the Mill, you are to throw up a breast 
work for Musquetry near the landing place, and secure your 

""The draft is in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 


communication with it. Besides this Work, another on the 
height on this side for a Field Piece or two should be erected. 

Be particularly careful of your Field Pieces and do not suffer 
them to be left, if there is a possibility of avoiding it. 

You are, as I before said, to give every possible opposition to 
the Enemy, particularly at crossing the River, but if you should 
be overpowered, and obliged to retreat, join that part of the 
Troops under my immediate Command, or the other under 
Colonel Cadwallader; in the latter case, the best stand possible 
is to be made at Neshamini Ferry, Bridge and Fords; but if 
you are unable to hold these, then seize the strong Grounds in 
the neighbourhood of German Town, unless you receive orders 
to the contrary from me or some other your superior Officer. 

Spare no pains, nor cost, to gain information of the Enemy's 
movements, and designs; whatever sums you pay to obtain 
this end, I will chearfully refund. Every piece of information 
worthy of communication, transmit to me without loss of 
time. A part of Colo. Hart's Battalion I have ordered to join 
your Brigade. Keep your Troops always supplied with three 
days Provisions, and prevent them from stragling, that they 
may be ready at a moment's warning, to oppose the Enemy in 
their passage of the River. 

[Be particularly attentive to the Boats and other vessels, and 
suffer no person to pass over to the Jersey shore without a 
permit.] 91 


Head Quarters near Trenton Falls, December 12, 1776. 
Dear Sir : I am to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated 
at Bethlehem the 8th. Instt. 92 Your proposition of opening 

01 The draft is in the writing of George Lewis and John Fitzgerald, except the para- 
graph in brackets, which is in that of Washington and signed by him. 

^Shippen's letter, dated Dec. 8, 1776, is in the Washington Papers and has its value 
in the Shippen-Morgan controversy over the Continental hospitals. 


Dr. Morgans Stores, I entirely approve of, and which you are 
authorized to do immediately, as it is, in every instance my 
ardent wish, that the sick be provided for, in the most happy 
and comfortable manner, our Circumstances will admit of, and 
I know of no good reason, why Stores should be preserved for a 
future day, when they are so much wanted at present. I am &c. 93 


Head Quarters at Trenton Falls, December 12, 1776. 94 
Sir: You are to post your Brigade at and near Bristol, Colo. 
Nixons Regiment to continue where it is at Dunks's ferry; but 
if you find, from reconnoitering the ground or from any 
movement of the Enemy, that any other disposition is neces- 
sary, you'll make it accordingly, without waiting to hear from 
me; but to acquaint me of the alterations and the reasons for it, 
as soon as possible. You'll establish the necessary Guards and 
throw up some little Redoubts at Dunks's ferry and the differ- 
ent passes in Neshamini. Pay particular attention to Dunks 
ferry, as its not improbable something may be attempted there. 
Spare no pains or expence to get Intelligence of the Enemy's 
motions and intentions. Any promises made or Sums ad- 
vanced, shall be fully complied with and discharged: Keep 
proper Patroles going from guard to guard. Every piece of 
Intelligence you obtain worthy notice, send it forward by Ex- 
press. If the Enemy attempt a landing on this side, you'll give 
them what opposition in your power; should they land between 

88 The draft is in the writing of William Grayson. 

"Joseph Reed wrote to Washington (December 12): "The Militia are crossing over 
[the Delaware into Jersey] in Parties. I fear they do not mean to return. I do not 
know by whose Orders but if their Colonels have Power to give Permission in a little 
Time there will be none left. . . . Mr. Moylan desires me to mention to your Excelly. 
the Propriety of his meeting Gen. Lee to inform him of the State of Things and wishes 
to know your Pleasure by the Return of the Light Horse." Reed's letter is in the 
Washington Papers. 

~l*. <P*s^y ■&&Zr< / / rV ^*^' «^*^-^ ^*-t^Ji^^*t^*^M^ <=> 

22626. - Jk~&~ grrJf /^ 

/.. /*./•. G&J //^ 

//.. ^. j*. &»fp -. .■_.. M 

/A. ^ ,. *f. 6*~Sf. - . . .ds 

Gift,. ffZt*>£^r*f/rs<J ^ «p %*£•***? StpnD U*0 ^**££*i*£&J&d*#t. 

Invoice of Blankets Sent to the Army by Robert Morris, Just Before 
the Battle of Trenton 

II. I 

C? 1 L 





Trenton Falls and Bordentown ferry, or any where above Bris- 
tol, and you find your force quite equal to theirs, give them 
what opposition you can at Neshamini ferry and Fords. In a 
Word, you are to give them all the Opposition you can, without 
hazarding the Loss of your Brigade. Keep a good Guard over 
such Boats, as are not scuttled or rendered unfit for use, keep 
a good look out for Spies, endeavour to magnify your Num- 
bers as much as possible; let the Troops have always three days 
provisions cooked before hand ; endeavour to keep your Troops, 
as much together as possible, night and day, that they may be 
ever in readiness to march upon the shortest notice. You'll 
consult with the Commodore of the Gallies and endeavor to 
form such an Arrangement, as will most effectually Guard the 
River. To your directions and prudence I submit any further 
regulations and recommend the greatest degree of vigilence. 

If you should find yourself unable to defend the passes on 
the Neshamini or the Enemy should route you from your Post, 
you are to repair to the strong ground near German Town, 
unless you have orders from me or some other General Officer 
to the contrary. 

Be particularly attentive to the Boats and Vessels, and suffer 
no person to pass over to the Jerseys without a permit. 95 


Camp at Trenton Falls, December 13, 1776. 
Sir: The apparent designs of the Enemy being to avoid this 
Ferry, and land their Troops above and below us, have induced 
me to remove from this place, the greater part of the Troops and 
throw them into a different Disposition on the River, whereby 
I hope not only to be more able to impede their passage, but 

95 The draft is in the writing of Samuel Blatchley Webb. 


also to avoid the Danger of being inclosed in this Angle of 
the River. And notwithstanding the extended Appearance 
of the Enemy on the other Side, made at least in part, to divert 
our Attention from any particular point, as well as to harrass 
us by Fatigue, I cannot divest myself of the Opinion that their 
principal Design is to Ford the River somewhere above Tren- 
ton; to which Design I have had particular Respect in the new 
Arrangement, wherein I am so far happy as to have the Con- 
currence of all the General Officers at this place. 

Four Brigades of the Army under Generals Lord Stirling, 
Mercer, Stephen and D'Fermoy extend from Yardley's up to 
Coryel's Ferry, posted in such a Manner as to guard every sus- 
picious part of the River and to afford Assistance to each other, 
in case of Attack. Genl Ewing with the Flying Camp of Penn- 
sylvania and a few Jersey Troops under General Dickinson, 
are posted from Yardley's Ferry down to the Ferry opposite 
Bordentown. Col. Cadwallader with the Pennsylvania Militia 
occupies the Ground above and below the Mouth of Nesha- 
miny River, as far down as Dunks Ferry, at which place Colo- 
nel Nixon is posted with the 3d Battalion of Philadelphia. A 
proper Quantity of Artillery is appointed to each Brigade, and 
I have ordered small Redoubts to be thrown up opposite every 
place where there is a possibility of fording. 

I shall remove further up the River to be near the main Body 
of my small Army, with which every possible Opposition 
shall be given to any further Approach of the Enemy towards 

As General Armstrong has a good deal of influence in this 
State and our present force is small and inconsiderable, I think 
he cannot be better employed than to repair to the Counties 
where his interest lies to animate the People, promote the re- 
cruiting service and encourage the Militia to come in. He will 


also be able to form a proper Judgement of the places suitable 
for Magazines of Provision to be collected. I have requested 
him to wait upon you on this subject, and if General Small- 
wood should go to Maryland on the same business, I think his 
presence would have a happy effect. He is popular and of 
great Interest and I am persuaded would contribute greatly 
to the State's furnishing her Quota of Men in a little time. He 
is now in Philadelphia. I have the honor &c. 96 


Head Quarters, Bucks County, December 14, 1776. 
Sir : I was last night favored with yours of the 6th. In a letter, 
which I did myself the pleasure to write to you two days ago, 
I gave you a full Account of my present Situation and the 
occurrences that have happened since I left the Neighbour- 
hood of Fort Lee. The want of Means of Transportation, has 
hitherto hindered the Enemy from making any Attempt to 
cross the Delaware ; and, I hope, unless the Course of the Season 
intirely changes, that the Weather will soon prevent their mak- 
ing use of Boats, if they should build them. 

M The letter sent is in the writing of Tench Tilghman and Robert Hanson Harrison. 
The draft is dated December 12 and was begun by Brig. Gen. John Armstrong, 
added to by Washington, continued by Tilghman, and finally finished by Harrison. 
The middle portion of the draft was stricken out in favor of the general description 
of troop positions in the second paragraph above, but the importance of the Trenton 
campaign justifies the inclusion of the more detailed and discarded description in the 
draft. "As I cannot at present farther enter into the various motives of this alteration, 
I shall only add a Copy of the Arrangement itself. Generals Lord Sterling, Mercer, 
Stevens and La Roch De Fermoy's Brigades are to take post at and below Corriels and 
McConkeys Ferrys. Lord Stirling's Brigade to continue at and near where his head 
Quarters are [at Blue Mount Ferry]. Genl. Stevens next below it. Genl. Mercer 
below Stevens. Genl. Defermoy above Lord Sterling. The Jerman Battalion to join 
Genl. Fermoy's Brigade. Genl. Ewings Brigade to continue at this Post and guard 
the River from Bordentown up towards Yeardlies Ferry. Redouts to be Erected at the 
Ford at Trenton Falls and near Yeardlies Ferry. Coll: Cadwalladers Brigade to take 
post at Bristol and [Guard those parts of the River Including Dunks's Ferry and to 
watch the motions of that part of the Enemy which have moved down towards]." 
The parts in brackets are in Washington's writing; the rest is in that of Armstrong. 


Your Situation to the Eastward is truly alarming; and I wish 
it were in my power to afford you that assistance that is requi- 
site. 97 You must be sensible, that it is impossible for me to de- 
tach any part of my small Army, when I have an Enemy far 
superior in numbers to oppose; but I have immediately coun- 
termanded the march of General Heath's Division, who were 
coming down from Peekskill; they are ordered to return again 
to that place, and hold themselves ready to move, as occasion 
may require. Genl Lee's division are so necessary to support 
this part of the Army, that, without their Assistance, we must 
inevitably be overpowred, and Philadelphia lost. I have Or- 
dered General Arnold, who was on his way down from Ticon- 
deroga, immediately to repair to New London, or wherever his 
presence will be most necessary. The Troops, that came down 
with him and Genl. Gates, are already, [from the advices I have 
received] so far advanced towards this Army, that to counter- 
mand them now, would be loosing the small remainder of their 
Service intirely ; as the Time of their Inlistments would expire, 
before they could possibly reach you; Whereas by coming on, 
they may in conjunction with my present Force and that under 
Genl. Lee, enable us to attempt a Stroke upon the Forces of 
the Enemy, who lay a good deal scattered and to all appearance 
in a state of Security. A lucky Blow in this Quarter, would be 
fatal to them, and would most certainly raise the Spirits of the 
People, which are quite sunk by our late misfortunes. 

In the Interval, between the Dissolution of the old and the 
Inlistment of the New Army, we must put our dependance on 
the public Spirit and Virtue of the People; which, I am sorry 
to say, has manifested but too small a Regard to their rights and 

'"Sparks notes that General Clinton and Earl Percy, with 6,000 British troops 
detached from the main army at New York, took possession of Newport and Rhode 
Island on December 8. For the letters of General Clinton and Sir Peter Parker relat- 
ing to this event see the Remembrancer, vol. 3, pp. 261, 262. 


Liberties in the States of New Jersey and Pennsylvania; the 
Citizens of Philadelphia excepted; but, I hope, such a Spirit 
still exists among your people, as will convince these bold In- 
vaders, that, altho' they may, by a Superior Naval Force, take 
possession of your Sea port Towns, yet, they cannot penetrate 
and over run your Country with Impunity. I have the Honor 
to be, etc. 

P. S. I have just received a Letter from General Heath of the 
ioth. Inst., in which he informs me, that his Division was to 
Cross the North River on that day ; so that they must be at Mor- 
ris Town by this time, which is but 50 Miles from hence ; upon 
this Consideration, I have changed my Intention of counter- 
manding him, for the same reasons as given in my Letter above, 
respecting the Troops under Generals Gates and Arnold. 98 


December 14, 1776. 

My Lord: Repair with all possible expedition to Genl. Lee's 
Camp. Know his Situation, Numbers, &ca. Send Officers you 
can confide in to Genls. Gates, and Heath, to be informd of 
their numbers, condition and when they may be expected at 
Pitts Town. 

Use every possible means without regard to expence, to come 
with certainty, at the Enemys strength, situation and move- 
ments; without this we wander in a Wilderness of uncertainties 
and difficulty, and no plan can be f ormd upon a Rational plan. 
When you see Genl. Lee and converse with him as also (Gates 
and Heath if possible) what probable mode of attack can be 
attempted and give me the earliest advice of it ; recollect that 

98 The draft is in the writing of Tench Tilghman, except the phrase in brackets, 
which is in Washington's writing. 


there is a difficulty in crossing from hence to the other side (on 
acct. of Boats) and that it will take sometime to put the Troops 
about Bristol in Motion if a cooperation is necessary. 

Weigh every circumstance of attack, and retreat properly, 
that nothing that can be guarded against, may be unprovided 
for. Give me the earliest and best advice of every matter; and 
do all in your power to inspirit the Militia, and bring them into 
use to the best advantage. 

Reposing the most implicit confidence in you and the Offi- 
cers before mentioned I do not mean to tie you down to any 
rule but leave you to the free exercise of your own judgments 
of wch. as I before said I only want timely advice. With the 
most sincere regards I remain, etc." 


Head Quarters at Keith's, December 14, 1776. 

Dr. Sir: Lest the Enemy should, in some degree avail them- 
selves of the knowledge (for I do not doubt but that they are 
well inform'd of everything we do) I did not care to be so par- 
ticular in the General Orders of this day as I mean to be in this 
Letter to you. 

As much Time then would be lost (in case the Enemy should 
attempt crossing the River at any pass within your guard of it) 
in first sending you notice, and the Troops to wait for Orders 
what to do, I would advise you to examine the whole River 
from the upper to the lower Guard of your district; and after 
forming an opinion of the most probable crossing places, have 
those well watchd and direct the Regiments or Companies most 
convenient to repair as they can be formed, immediately to the 
point of Attack, and give the Enemy all the opposition they 
possibly can, everything in a manner depends upon the defence 

"The editor is indebted to Dr. A. S. W. Rosenbach for the text of this letter. 


at the Water edge, in like manner one Brigade is to support 
another without loss of time, or waiting orders from me. 

I would also have You fix upon some Central Spot conven- 
ient to your Brigade, but in the rear a little, and on some Road 
leading into the Back road to Philadelphia for your unnecessary 
Baggage, Waggons and Stores, that in case your opposition 
should prove inefectual these things may not fall but be got off 
and proceed over Neshamony Bridge towards German Town 
agreeable to the determination of the Board of Officers the other 
day. Let me entreat you to Cast about to find out some Person 
who can be engaged to cross the River as a spy, that we may, 
if possible, obtain some knowledge of the Enemy's Situation, 
movements, and intention; particular enquiry to be made by 
the person sent if any preparations are making to cross the 
River; whether any Boats are Building, and where; whether 
any are coming across Land from Brunswick; whether any 
great collection of Horses are made, and for what purpose &c. 
Expence must not be spared in procuring such Inteligence, and 
will readily be paid by me. We are in a Neighbourhood of very 
disaffected People, equal care therefore should be taken that 
one of these Persons do not undertake the business in order to 
betray us. 1 

As your numbers are rather small endeavour to shew them, 
now and then to the best advantage, an appearance might be 
made with those you have as if fresh Troops were coming in, 
and if you stop all Intercourse but such as is carried on to the 
other side by your own permit it will take a little time to dis- 
cover the deception and every hour gained is of service in our 
present Situation. 

^tryker's Battles of Trenton and Princeton (New York: 1898), pp. 87-89, tells of 
John Honeyman as the spy of Trenton, but the evidence is not sufficient to identify 
him as the person selected according to the above direction. A man by the name of 
Pomroy was sent into the British lines by Reed. 


If possible get some person in to Trenton, and let Him be sat- 
isfied if any Boats are building at that place and on Croswicks 
Creek. I am, etc. 2 


Head Quarters at Keiths, December 14, 1776. 
Dear Sir: I last Night received your letter of the nth. Instt. 
by Majr. Dehart. 3 I am much surprized that you should be in 
any doubt respecting the Route you should take, after the infor- 
mation you have had upon that Head, as well by Letter, as from 
Major Hoops who was dispatched for the purpose. A large 
number of Boats was procured and is still retained at Tinnicum, 
under a strong guard, to facilitate your passage across the Dela- 
ware. I have so frequently mentioned our Situation, and the 
necessity of your Aid, that it is painfull to me to add a Word 
upon the Subject. Let me once more request and entreat you to 
march immediately for Pitts Town, which lies on the route that 
has been pointed out, and is about Eleven Miles from Tinnicum 
ferry, that is more on the Flank of the Enemy than where you 
are. 4 Advise me of the time you will arrive there, that a Letter 
may be sent you, about your further destination and such other 
movements as may be necessary. The inclosed for Genls. Gates 
and Arnold, you will forward by an Officer without delay. The 
former I have requested to come on with the Regiments he has, 
with all possible expedition. The latter to go to the Eastward, 

2 The editor is indebted to the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association of the Union for 
a photostat of this circular as sent to Brig. Gen. James Ewing, which is in the writing 
of George Lewis, with the last paragraph in that of Washington. The draft in the 
Washington Papers is entirely in Washington's writing, but lacks the last two para- 
graphs above. The Varick Transcripts note the circular as sent to Stirling, Mercer, 
Stephen, and de Roche Fermoy. 

'^Maj. William DeHart, of the First New Jersey Regiment. 

4 Lee wrote to Gates from "Basking Ridge" (December 13) : "Entre nous, a certain 
great man is most, damnably deficient. He has thrown me into a situation where 
I have my choice of difficulties. If I stay in this Province, I risk myself and Army; and 

1776] LACK OF TROOPS 371 

on the Intelligence received from Govr. Trumbull. Part of the 
Enemy have advanced as far as Burlington and their main 
Body, from the best information, is in the Neighbourhood of 
Trenton and at Penny Town. The Congress have adjourned 
from Philadelphia to meet at Baltimore, on the 20th. Instt., and 
sensible of the importance of the former, have directed it to be 
defended to the utmost extremity, to prevent the Enemy from 
possessing it. The fatal consequences that must attend its loss, 
are but too obvious to every one. Your arrival maybe the means 
of saving it, nothing but a respectable force, I am certain from 
Melancholy experiance, can induce the Militia to come in and 
give their Aid. The Roebuck and a Sloop of War have arrived 
in Delaware Bay, and from the last advices were laying not far 
within the Capes. I have wrote to General Heath, to proceed 
with his Troops, with all possible dispatch to Pitts Town, where 
I hope to hear of the arrival of Genl. Gates with the Regiments 
that are with him in a short time, if my information is true. 
I am, etc. 

P. S. The Letters for Genls. Gates and Arnold, I have sent by 
another conveyance. 5 


Head Quarters at Keiths, December 14, 1776. 
Dear Sir : Before this comes to hand, you will have heard of 
the melancholy situation of our Affairs. I do not mean now 
to detail our Misfortunes. With a handful of men, compared to 
the Enemy's force, we have been pushed thro' the Jerseys, with- 
out being able to make the smallest opposition and to pass the 

if I do not stay, the Province is lost forever. . . . Tories are on my front, rear and on 
my flanks. . . . Our counsels have been weak to the last degree. As to what relates 
to yourself, if you think you can be in time to aid the General, I would have ycu, by 
all means go. You will, at least, save your Army." (See Force's American Archives, 
Fifth Series, vol. 3, 1201.) 

"The draft is in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 


Delaware. Genl.Howe is now on the other side, and beyond all 
question means, if possible, to possess himself of Philadelphia. 
His Troops are extended from Penny Town to Burlington; the 
main body, from the best advices, at the former and within 
the Neighbourhood of Trenton. I wish it were in my power 
to tell you, that Appearances were much against him; At pres- 
ent I confess they are not. But few of the Militia of this State 
have yet come out, except those belonging to the City, nor 
have I any great hope of their assistance, unless we can collect 
a respectable force; in such case perhaps they will turn out and 
afford their Aid. I have heard that you are coming on with 
Seven Regiments, this may have a happy effect, and let me 
entreat you, not to delay a moment in hastning to Pitts Town. 
You will advise me of your Approaches, and of the time you 
expect to be there, that I may meet you with an Express, and 
inform you of your destination and such further movements 
as may be necessary. I expect Genl. Lee will be there this Eve- 
ning or to morrow, who will be followed by Genl. Heath and 
his division. If we can draw our forces together, I trust, under 
the smiles of providence, we may yet effect an important stroke, 
or at least prevent Genl. Howe from executing his plans. Phila- 
delphia is now the object of our care, you know the importance 
of it, and the fatal consequences that must attend its loss. I am 
persuaded no Aid with you to give, will be withheld a single 
instant; your arrival may be a most happy Circumstance. The 
Congress have adjourned to Baltimore, but previously resolved 
that Philadelphia should be defended to the last extremity. 
Lord Stirling is going over to meet Genl. Lee, and concert with 
him a plan of Operations, I wish you could be there, and would 
advise you not to wait the slow march of your Troops. I am &c. 6 

°The draft is in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 

1776] NEED OF TROOPS 373 


Head Quarters at Keith's, December 14, 1776. 
Dear Sir: I last night received your favor of the 10th. instt. 
I am extremely pleased by the ready attention you have paid 
to my Orders and have only to request that you will proceed 
with your Troops, with all possible expedition, to Pitts Town, 
pursuing General Lee's route, and where I expect you will join 
him; loose not a Moment. The situation of our Affairs demands 
industry and dispatch on all Hands. Advise me from time 
to time of your approach, and use your best Endeavours to 
accomodate your Troops, and supplying them with provisions, 
supposing that the Enemy mean an impression. I am led to 
conclude from your Letter, that you would have advanced so far 
this way before I could have countermanded your march, that 
the return of your Troops could not afford much assistance, 
as their time of Service would be near expiring, if not out, 'ere 
they could arrive, and if we can collect our force speedily, 
I should hope we may effect something of importance, or at 
least give such a turn to our Affairs as to make them assume 
a more pleasing aspect than they now have. I am &c. 7 


Head Quarters, Bucks County, 

State of Pennsylvania, December 14, 1776. 

Sir : I have just received advices from Governor Trumbull, 

that a large Fleet of the Enemy's Ships of War and Transports 

were lying off New London, with an intent to make a descent 

on some part of New England. He desires me to send some 

7 The draft is in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 


General Officers, to take the Command of the Militia who are 
assembling to make the best Opposition in their power. I must 
therefore request, that you would immediately repair to New 
England, and take the Command at such place, as you may find 
your presence most necessary. I have ordered General Arnold 
upon the same Service, and beg you may Co-operate with him 
in such Measures, as will be most conducive to the publick good. 
If any Militia should have arrived from New England to replace 
those who have lately gone home, you will please to leave as 
many, as will in your Opinion and that of the Commanding 
Officer at the Highlands, be necessary to guard those passes, 
and take the remainder with you; or if you should meet any on 
their march up, you will please to let as many proceed as will 
be necessary for the above purpose (of guarding the Highlands) 
and take the remainder back with you. I am &c. 8 


Head Quarters, Bucks County, State of Pennsylvania, 

December 14, 1776. 
Dear Sir : Having received Advice from Governor Trumbull 
of the 6th. Instt., that a large Fleet of the Enemy's Men of War 
and Transports had appeared off New London, without doubt, 
with an Intent to make a descent either there or some part of 
the coast of New England, and he desiring that some General 
Officers might be sent to take the Command of the Militia who 
were assembling. I must desire that you would immediately 
repair to the States of New England, and in whichsoever of 
them you find the Enemy landed, or likely to land, that you 
will, in Conjunction with Major General Spencer, who I have 
ordered upon the same service, take such measures, as in your 

8 The draft is in the writing of Tench Tilghman. 

1776] LEE'S CAPTURE 375 

Opinion will be most likely to give Opposition to, and frustrate 
the intents of the Enemy. I shall be glad to hear from you, 
upon your arrival in New England, with a State of Matters as 
you find them. I have full confidence in your exerting yourself 
in this as upon former Occasions, and am etc. 9 


Head Quarters near Coriell's Ferry, 
December 14, 1776. 
Sir: I have before me your favor of yesterday and for answer 
would inform you that I shall most chearfully cooperate with 
you in endeavoring to save the Frigate Delaware, and for this 
purpose shall immediately inclose your Letter to Col. Cadwal- 
lader, with direction for Capt. Alexander with his Officers and 
a sufficient number of men to proceed to Phila. without delay 
in order to carry the Frigate out of your River before the oppor- 
tunity is lost and am with much Esteem etc. 10 


Head Quarters at Keith's, December 15, 1776. 
Dear Sir : About One O'clock to day, I received your Letter 
of the 13th. and sincerely regret with you the unhappy fate of 
Genl.Lee. 11 I know his feelings upon the Occasion, and I know 
the loss our Country must sustain in his Captivity. The Event 
has happened. And I refer you, to the several Letters which 
I had wrote him, and to one which now goes to Lord Stirling, 

"The draft is in the writing of Tench Tilghman, who ended the letter "and am 
Sir yr. most obt. Servt.," but Washington in this instance changed it to " am Dr. Sir 
with gt. esteem and regd." 

10 The text of this letter was kindly furnished by J. Bennett Nolan, of Reading, Pa. 

"This same day (December 15) Commissary General Joseph Trumbull sent the 
same news (Lee's capture) from Morristown, N. J.; Cadwalader sent it (December 
15) from Bristol, Pa. 


and who I presume is with you, and who was fully possessed of 
my Ideas when he left me, for the Measures you and he may 
judge necessary to adopt. I am &ca. 12 


Head Quarters, Bucks County, December 15, 1776. 

Gentn.: With the utmost regret, I must inform you of the 
loss our Army has sustained, by the Captivity of General Lee, 
who was made a prisoner on the Morning of the 13th. by a 
party of 70. of the Enemy's Light Horse, near a place call'd 
Veal Town, in the Jerseys. For the particulars, I refer you to 
the inclosed from General Sullivan. 13 

The Spirit of disaffection that appears in this Country, I think, 
deserves your serious attention; instead of giving any Assist- 
ance in repelling the Enemy; the Militia have not only refused 
to obey your General Summons and that of their Command- 
ing Officers ; but, I am told, exult at the approach of the Enemy, 
and our late misfortunes. I beg leave to submit to your Con- 
sideration, whether such people are to be trusted with Arms in 
their Hands? If they will not use them for us, there is the 
greatest reason to apprehend they will against us, if opportu- 
nity offers. But, even supposing they claimed a right of re- 
maining Neuter; in my Opinion, we ought not to hesitate a 
Moment in taking their Arms, which will be so much wanted 
in furnishing the New Levies. If such a step meets your appro- 
bation, I leave it to you to determine upon the Mode. If you 
think fit to impower me, I will undertake to have it done, as 
speedily and effectually as possible. You must be sensible that 
the utmost secrecy is necessary [both in your deliberations on, 

12 The draft is in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 
13 Sullivan's letter, dated Dec. 13, 1776, is in the Washington Papers. 


and in the execution of] a Matter of this kind; for, if the thing 
should take wind, the Arms would presently be conveyed be- 
yond our reach, or rendered useless. 

Your favors of the 13th. and 14th. Inst. 14 are this moment 
come to my hands; I am glad to find from the latter, that the 
Militia of Lancaster County are in Motion; and I am in hopes, 
that General Mifflin's appearance, in the different Counties, 
will have as good an Effect as it had in Philadelphia. I have 
received information, that the Body of the Enemy which lay 
at Pennington, under Lord Cornwallis, moved this morning 
back towards Princetown; if so, it looks as if they were going 
into Quarters; and this Corresponds with the Account brought 
last night by a Prisoner, a Servant belonging to Genl. Vaughan's 
family, who says he heard his Master talk of going soon into 
Winter Quarters. The Body, that lay at Trenton, are likewise 
filing off towards Allen Town and Bordentown, with their 
Baggage; which makes me conjecture, they are taking the 
Road to South Amboy. I have a Number of Small Parties out 
to make discoveries; and, if the Motions of the Enemy are 
really such, as I have mentioned above, I shall soon have infor- 
mation of it. In the mean time, my Troops are so stationed, as 
to prevent them from crossing the River at any place, without 
our knowledge. But, I am in great Hopes, that the disappoint- 
ment in Boats and the lateness of the Season, which now begins 
to put on the face of Winter, will prevent their making any 
Attempt upon Philadelphia till Spring. This, however, should 
not in the least slacken your Exertions in making the necessary 
preparations for the Fortification and Defence of the City by 
land and Water; for you may be assured that will be their first 
and great object in the Spring. I have the Honor &c. 15 

"These letters are in the Washington Papers. 

15 The draft is in the writing of Tench Tilghman. The words in brackets are in 
Washington's writing. 



Head Quarters at Keiths, December 15, 1776. 18 
Sir: About One O'clock to day I received a Letter from 
General Sullivan, a Copy of which you have inclosed. I will 
not comment upon the melancholy intelligence, which it con- 
tains, only adding, that I sincerely regret Genl. Lee's unhappy 
fate, and feel much for the loss of my Country in his Captivity. 
In respect to the Enemy, they have been industrious in their 
attempts to procure Boats and small craft, but as yet their ef- 
forts have not succeeded. From the latest advices that I have 
of their movements by some prisoners and others, they appear 
to be leaving Trenton and to be filing off towards Princeton 
and Allen Town. What their designs are, whether they mean 
to retreat or only a feint, cannot be determined. I have parties 
out to watch their motions, and to form if possible, an accurate 
Opinion of their plans. Our force since my last, has received 
no augmentation, [of course (by Sickness &c.) ] other causes, 
[has diminished] , but I am advised by a Letter from the Coun- 
cil of Safety which just came to hand, that Colos. Burd and Gil- 
braeth are marching with their Battallions of Militia and also 
that some small parties are assembling in Cumberland County. 
By Capt. Murray, 17 who is just returned from his impris- 
onment, we are informed that Messrs. John, Andrew and 
William Allen 18 are at Trenton. The fact I suppose is to be 

10 On this date William Grayson wrote to Col. John Cadwalader, by Washington's 
direction, that information from a prisoner indicated that the British were preparing to 
fall back from the Delaware — their wagon train was reported as moving down toward 
Bordentown, N. J. — and requesting him to confirm this report and, if true, attempt 
something against the wagons. Grayson's letter is in the Washington Papers. 

"Capt. Francis Murray, of the Pennsylvania Musket Battalion. He had been cap- 
tured at Long Island, N. Y.; was made major of the Third Pennsylvania Regiment in 
1777; taken prisoner again in February, 1778; exchanged in December, 1780; did not 
reenter the service. 

18 The Aliens, from Pennsylvania, were sons of William Allen, who had been chief 
justice of the province from 1750 to 1774. Allentown was founded by and named 



depended on, as Capt Murray is acquainted with them and 
saw them himself according to the report he has made. I have 
the honor &c. 19 


Head Quarters at Keiths, December 16, 1776. 
Sir: In a late Letter which I had the honor of addressing you, 
I took the liberty to recommend that more Battallions should 
be raised for the new Army, than what had been voted, having 
fully considered the matter I am more and more convinced not 
only of the propriety, but of the necessity of the measure. That 
the Enemy will leave nothing unessayed in the course of the 
next Campaign, to reduce these States to the rule of a most 
lawless and insufferable Tyranny must be obvious to every 
One, and that the militia is not to be depended on, or aid ex- 
pected from 'em, but in cases of the most pressing emergency, 
is not to be doubted. The first of these propositions is unques- 
tionable, and fatal experience has given her sanction to the 
truth of the latter; indeed their lethargy of late and backward- 
ness to turn out at this alarming crisis, seem to justify an appre- 
hension, that nothing can bring them from their Homes. For 
want of their assistance, a large part of Jersey has been exposed 
to ravage, and to plunder, nor do I know that Pennsylvania 
would share a better fate, could Genl. Howe effect a passage 
across the Delaware with a respectable force. These consider- 
ations have induced me to [mention the subject to Congress] 
wish that no reliance except such as may arise from necessity, 
should ever be had in them again, and to make further men- 
tion to Congress of the expediency of increasing their Army. 

after him. Andrew had been attorney general of Pennsylvania, recorder of Philadel- 
phia, and was elected to the committee of safety in 1775 and to the Continental Con- 
gress in 1775. He disapproved of independence and left the Congress in June, 1776. 
19 Both the draft and letter sent are in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. The 
words in brackets were inserted in the draft by Washington, who wrote " Sickness 
&C," which Harrison expanded in the letter sent to "Sickness and other causes." 


I trust the measure will meet their earliest attention. Had I lei- 
sure and were it necessary, I could say much upon this head, 
but as I have not, and the matter is well understood, I will not 
add much. By augmenting the number of your Battallions you 
will augment your force; The Officers of each will have their 
interest and influence, and upon the whole, their numbers will 
be much greater, tho' they should not be compleat. Added to 
this, from the present confused state of Jersey and the [bad] 
improper appointment of Officers in many instances, I have 
little or no expectation that she will be able to raise All the 
Troops exacted from her, tho I think it might be done, were 
suitable spirited Gentlemen commissioned who would [en- 
gage and lead on the people, for want of which, many good 
men and who would have readily enlisted] exert themselves 
and encourage the people, many of whom for a failure in this 
instance and who are well disposed, are making their submis- 
sions. In a Word, the next will be a trying Campaign and as 
All that is dear and valuable may depend upon the issue of it, 
I [think no measure] would advise that nothing should be 
omitted [to ensure] that shall seem necessary to our success. 
Let us have a respectable Army, and such as will be competent 
to every exigency. I will also add that the critical situation of 
our Affairs and the dissolution of our present force, (now at 
hand) require that every nerve and exertion be employed for 
recruiting the new Battalions. One part of Genl. Howe's 
movements at this time, I believe is with a design to distract us 
and prevent this business. If the inclemency of the Weather, 
should force him into Winter Qrs. he will not remain there 
longer than necessity shall oblige him; he will commence his 
operations in a short space of time, and in that time [a Suffi- 
cient Army] our Levies must be [raised] made up to oppose 
[them] him, or I fear the most melancholy of all events must 
take place. 

1776] CLOTHING 381 

The inclosed Extract of a Letter from the Corny. General 
will shew his demands for money, and his plans for procuring 
[proper supplies of] salted provisions, and a quantity of Flour 
from the Southward. The whole is submitted to the considera- 
tion of Congress, and I wish [that] the result of their Opinion 
to be transmitted him, with such supplies of money as [are] 
may be necessary for himself and the [Several] departments he 
mentions, [could be transmitted to im] 

The Cloathing of the Troops is a matter of infinite impor- 
tance, and if it could be [speedily] accomplished would have 
[most] a happy effect, their distresses are extremely great, 
many of 'em [are] being entirely naked and most [of them] so 
thinly clad as to be unfit for service. I must entreat Congress 
to write to the Agents and Contractors upon this Subject, that 
Every possible supply may be procured [they may have them 
made] and forwarded with the utmost expedition. I cannot 
attend to the business myself, having more than I can possibly 
do besides being involved in so many difficulties and affairs 
already, that I am obliged to neglect those coming properly 
within my own department, which is very injurious. I have 
the Honor, etc. 20 


Head Quarters, December 16, 1776. 
Gentn. : I have just the pleasure of receiving yours of yester- 
day. I shall give the Deputy Qur. Master General orders, to 
have the Cloathing both new and old brought up to the Army, 
and have it distributed as it is most wanted; but you may 
depend, if the old Cloaths which have been so Charitably 

'"Both the draft and letter sent are in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. The 
words in brackets are in the draft, but omitted in the letter sent, and are inserted as 
an example of the difficulties sometimes encountered by an aide in drafting a letter to 
Washington's satisfaction. The clear reading of the letter is obtained by ignoring the 
bracketed portions. 


contributed by the Inhabitants of Philadelphia can answer the 
present Necessities of the other Regiments, that the New, shall 
be all applied to the Regiment particularly belonging to your 
State. 21 

I am glad to find the Militia from the Eastern parts of your 
Province, the lower parts of Jersey and the Delaware Counties, 
are turning out with proper Spirit; I hope with their Assistance 
we shall be able to check the Enemy, if they should still deter- 
mine to pass the Delaware. I am, etc. 

P. S. I beg you will by all ways and means facilitate and 
encourage the Recruiting Service, for on that every thing 
depends. 22 


Head Quarters, Bucks County, December 16, 1776. 
Gentn. : I was last Night honored with yours of the 1 ith Inst, 
inclosing Sundry Resolutions of your Board; I have also to 
acknowledge the receipt of your favor of the 23d November, 
which should not have remained so long unanswered, had not 
the continued Motion of our Army for some time past, put it 
out of my power to sit regularly down to Business. Indeed, 
I have now so much on my hands, and such a choice of diffi- 
culties, that I hardly know which first to attend to. I know you 
have had your difficulties too, indeed more than any other 
State, and you have therefore my thanks, not only for the Com- 
pleat arrangement of your Officers, for the four Battalions al- 
loted to your Share, but for your determination to raise a fifth 
to be Commanded by Colo. Dubois. 23 As the Office of Aid 

"Mifflin had sent 300 suits of clothes to Neshaminy Ferry; but as the council had 
used State clothing for the Continental recruits, it asked that a replacement for its 
regiment be made from these 300. 

22 In the writing of Tench Tilghman. 

23 Col. Lewis Dubois, of the Fifth New York Regiment. He was captured at Fort 
Montgomery, N. Y y in October, 1777; resigned in December, 1779; served subse- 
quently as colonel of New York levies. 


Major has been hitherto unknown in the Continental Service, 
perhaps by introducing it among your Regiments, umbrage 
might be given to the others, if they were not likewise provided 
with an officer of the same kind, and therefore to avoid dis- 
putes, I could wish the Matter might be waved. 

Major Sheldon who Commands the Connecticut Horse, will 
return in a few days, he will either take the Troop with him 
from Fishkills, or post them where they are more wanted. 

I thank you for the great Confidence you are pleased to re- 
pose in me, and you may be assured, that whatever Military 
Powers shall be intrusted to me, shall ever be exerted first to 
establish and then protect the Civil. 24 

I come now to answer yours of the nth. When I ordered 
down Genl. Heath from his post at the Highlands ; it was done 
in consequence of a Determination of a Council of General 
Officers, who agreed that we had no other means of Stopping 
the progress of Genl Howe, who was evidently making a grand 
push to make himself Master of Philadelphia. The advantages 
of keeping possession of the posts in the Highlands were not 
unattended to; we considered that the Enemy had thrown the 
Main Body of their Army over into Jersey ; that they were about 
to make a Considerable Embarkation (which has since turned 
out to be against New England) and that it would take most, 
if not the remainder of their Army, to keep up the Garrisons at 
New York &c. and that therefore they had not a sufficient force 
left to attempt the strong posts at the Highlands, tho' only 
guarded [by Genl. Geo: Clinton with the force of the State of 
New York]. 

24 The letter from the New York Committee of Safety stated: "The Delicacy which 
your Excellency has ever observed with Respect to the Civil Power of this State merits 
their Warmest Acknowledgments and will always induce them the more Cheerfully 
and Streneously to Cooperate with your Excellency in every measure that may be 
deemed Conducive to the public Weal." This letter, dated Nov. 23, 1776, is in the 
Washington Papers. 


General Howe easily forced our small Army to retreat before 
him to the Delaware; but not finding Boats to transport his 
Troops, (we having had time and precaution to secure and de- 
stroy them), he seems by his late Motions to be moving back 
towards Brunswick for Winter Quarters [or intending a feint] . 
Upon this change of Measures, I have immediately ordered 
Genl Heath to return to Peekskill with General Parsons's Bri- 
gade. If he finds any of the Enemy's Posts at Hackensack or 
elsewhere weakly guarded he is to endeavour to beat them up. 
As the Inlistment of the greatest part of the Continental Army, 
expires on the first of January, every State must exert itself 
in forwarding the new Inlistments and procuring temporary 
Supplies of Militia, till the New Levies can be brought into the 
Field. I have the Honor etc. 25 


Head Qurs., State of Pennsa., Bucks County, 

December 16, 1776. 
Dear Sir: The Congress have been pleased to appoint Elisha 
Sheldon Esqr. of your State to be Lieut. Col Commandant of a 
Regiment of Cavalry; for the purpose of Raising them he now 
sets of for Connecticut. Having to pass thro' an Enemy's Coun- 
try on his way there, I cannot think it prudent to advance him 
the Sum necessary for his Immediate use. I have to request you 
will furnish him with what Money he may want from the 
Treasury of your State or in any other way you may think best; 
which Sum you'll please to draw on the Continent, thro' me 
for. Iam&c. 26 

25 The draft is in the writing of Tench Tilghman. The words in brackets are in 
Washington's writing. 

26 The draft is in the writing of Samuel Blatchley Webb. 



Head Qrs. near Corryels ferry, December 16, 1776. 
Dear Sir: I received your favor of the nth. Instant, advising 
me of the march of Parsons's Brigade from Peeks Kill to join 
us. I am now to acquaint you, that from information received 
of the Enemy's movements, it appears to me, that they intend 
leaving this part of the Country, and to retire towards Bruns- 
wick, and the towns continuous to it, perhaps for the purpose of 
going into Winter Quarters, [ (if the whole is not designed as 
a feint) ] ; therefore, there does not appear, the same necessity 
for your advancing, as was conjectured at the time my Or- 
ders for your marching were determined on; For this reason, 
I should conceive it expedient that you return with Parsons's 
Brigade to your former Station; indeed the conduct of the Tories 
(as mentioned in your Letter) and the danger the Convention 
of New York have represented to me, which that State will be 
exposed to, has rendered this step the more necessary; You are 
to post these Troops in the most advantageous manner to 
answer the purposes of defending the Country from the incur- 
sions of the Enemy, and of curbing the insolence of the disaf- 
fected. However, previous to your departure from the Jerseys, 
I entirely agree with you in sentiment, that the Troops cannot 
be better employed than in surprising any of the Enemys posts 
either at Hackensack or the parts adjacent, that are so situated 
as to admit of a Strong probability of success; An enterprise of 
this sort, will encourage our Friends, and advance the recruit- 
ing service, which is a Circumstance of infinite importance. 
As to Colo. Vose, with Greaton's, Bond's, and Porters Regi- 
ments, I would choose they should move forward with all 
possible expedition, to join General Gates. With respect to the 


Families of Mr. Inglis 27 and Mr. Moore, 28 who are desirous of 
going to New York, I cannot perceive any political objection; as 
I should suppose they are capable of doing less mischief there, 
than by remaining in the Country and giving intelligence to 
the Enemy; they ought however to be informed, that they will 
on no account whatever be permitted to return. I am &c. 

P. S. I beg you will encourage the recruiting Service by every 
means in your power; I shall in a Short time send you Money 
for the different recruiting Officers. 29 


Head Quarters, December 16, 1776. 

Sir: The Congress having thought fit to appoint you Lieutt. 
Colo. Commandant of a Regiment of Horse, to be raised, and 
to empower me to appoint the Officers under you; reposing 
especial trust and confidence in you, and knowing how much 
your Honor and reputation depends upon the proper choice, 
I am willing you should have the Nomination of all the Officers 
(reserving to myself a negative of any one, and all such as I 
shall think unfit for that Service,) and doubt not you will be 
particularly careful in fixing none but Gentlemen of true 
Spirits and of good Characters; observing at the same time, that 
Gentlemen of Fortune and reputable Families generally make 
the most useful Officers. 

You are immediately to repair to the State of Connecticut, 
and as soon as possible Nominate your Officers, and send them 
out on the recruiting Service, they are to be particularly atten- 
tive to take none into the Corps, but young, light, active men. 

"'Probably Rev. Charles Inglis, rector of Trinity Church, New York City. He was 
later Lord Bishop of Nova Scotia. 

28 There were so many loyalists by the name of Moore, it is difficult to hazard a guess 
as to this identity. 

^The draft is in the writing of William Grayson. The parentheses, inclosed in 
brackets, were inserted by Washington. 

1776] DRAGOONS 387 

The privates are to receive Twenty Dollars bounty, and a Suit 
of Cloaths on entering the Service, and pay as pr. Schedule 
annexed. They are to be raised to serve during the War, unless 
sooner discharged by Congress. 

Each non-commissioned Officer and private is to be fur- 
nished with a good Horse, Saddle, Bridle and other Accoutre- 
ments belonging to the Horse Service, at the expence of the 
Continent, and I will recommend to Congress that the Com- 
manding Officer be also furnished at the public expence, with 
the same, but cannot absolutely engage it, as I believe it is not 

In procuring the Horses, you are to have, no Stallions, mares, 
White or Gray Horses, but likely, serviceable Trotters of suffi- 
cient size; It is expected you will purchase them at the most 
reasonable rate, and not, upon an average, to exceed One hun- 
dred Dollars pr Head, carefully describing and keeping an 
exact account of the Cost of each Horse. 

Saddles, Bridles, Carbines, Broadswords, Pistols and every 
other Accoutrement necessary (agreeable to a pattern herewith 
given you,) you will procure as cheap as possible. 

Your Regiment is to consist of One Major, an Adjutant, Sur- 
geon and Mate, and Six Troops; to each Troop, One Captain, 
One Lieutenant, One Cornet (Commissioned Officers) One 
Qr. Master, two Serjeants, two Corporals, One Trumpeter, 
One Farrier, and thirty four privates. 

In order to enable you to defray the Expence of raising and 
equiping this Regiment, you are herewith furnished with a 
Warrant upon the Paymaster for the sum of 14,000 Dollars 
and a Letter to Governor Trumbull, to advance you such fur- 
ther Sums as may be necessary, on Continental account. In case 
of the latter failing, you are to advise me of it, and if no public 
Money is to be had in that Department from a paymaster to be 


appointed, send a careful Officer for such Sum or Sums as may 
be wanted. 

As fast as you can raise and equip a Troop they are to be sent 
to the Army under my immediate Command, agreable to the 
Resolution of Congress directing the raising of said Regiment. 30 

Lawful Money 

Lieutt. Colo, and Commandant 22.. 10. 

Major 18. 

Captain 15. 

Lieutenants 10. 

Cornets 8. 

Adjutants 10. 



Quarter Master 5. 

Serjeant 4.. 10 

Corporal 3. 

Trumpeter 3 

Private 2.. 10 

The above is the pay which his Excellency will recom- 
mend Congress to establish for the Officers of Colo. Shel- 
dons Regiment of Cavalry. Robert Hanson Harrison. 


Head Quarters near Trenton, December 16, 1776. 
Dear Sir: Your favor of the 13th. Instt. came safe to hand. 
I have taken an extract of that part of it, which relates to the 
Business of your Department, and shall forward it to Congress 
by the first Opportunity, I can have no objection to your going 
to New England, instead of coming this way, upon the repre- 
sentation you have made of the necessity, and superior advantage 
arising from your going, and at the same time confiding in 
your Judgment in determining upon that plan of Conduct 
which will conduce most to the benefit of the Service. 

30 The draft is in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 

1776] MONEY AND FLOUR 389 

I am glad to find you have been making preparations for 
laying in a large supply of Salt provisions for the Army, and 
approve of your plan of sending to Virginia for flour, during 
the Winter, as I dont see but it may be rendered practicable; 
but these Matters will doubtless be fully answered by Congress, 
when they receive the Copy of your Letter, as also the necessary 
supply of Cash which you mention; in the mean time I think it 
will be very adviseable for you to borrow money in the manner 
you propose, till you receive the necessary supplies from Con- 
gress; indeed there is so little Cash in the Paymaster's hands 
here at present, that it is not in my power to afford you any 
assistance in that particular. As I conclude you have informed 
yourself sufficiently with respect to the Abilities and Capacity 
of Mr. Wharton, 31 1 shall make no objection to the appointment, 
but only observe, that circumstanced as affairs are at present in 
the Jerseys, it will require an Officer of much sagacity and dili- 
gence to discharge the duties of that Office faithfully and to 
satisfaction. I have inclosed you a List of such persons in Vir- 
ginia as I think will be most likely to supply you with Flour 
on good Terms. Mr. Wharton's acquaintance there will also 
help probably, to procure it with greater facility and dispatch. 
I thank you for your condolence on the universal Loss America 
has sustained in the unfortunate Captivity of Genl. Lee, and 
am with due Regard, etc. 

Colo. John Tabb or Colo. Jno. Banister on James River. 
Colo. Fielding Lewis on Rapehannock River. 
Colo. Syme upon York River. 
Mr. Thos. Lawson upon Powtomack River. 

P. S. I shall send some money to General Heath for the 
recruiting Service. 32 

31 Carpenter Wharton. Colonel Trumbull had appointed him his sole deputy com- 
missary general. 

32 The draft is in the writing of John Fitzgerald. 


Head Quarters, Bucks County, December 17, 1776. 

Gentn. : Since I wrote to you yesterday, I have received Infor- 
mation that the Enemy are still moving downwards; and by 
their making Fascines, they either have not yet laid aside then- 
designs upon Philada., or they mean to Quarter in the small 
Towns along the River; in which Case I suppose they would 
throw up small Works to prevent a surprise. In either case, if 
there are any Artillery or Stores at Billingsport, they should 
be immediately removed ; as I find from a late Letter from you, 
that you have not a Sufficient Force to protect the Works that 
have been erected. I am, etc. 33 


Head Quarters, December 17, 1776. 
Dear Sir: As an exact Return of the Officers, with their 
Names and Ranks, and the Number of Non Commissioned 
Officers and privates taken at Fort Washington, will be neces- 
sary to carry an Exchange into Execution, you will please to 
furnish me with it as soon as convenient; And as Genl. Howe 
only transmitted me an Account of the Number of Officers 
returned by Sr. Guy Carleton under Parole from Canada, with- 
out specifying their Names and Ranks, be pleased to apply to 
Mr. Commissary Loring 34 for the same and send it to me with 
your own Return. I am &c. 35 


Head Quarters, December 17, 1776. 
Sir: I would beg leave to recall your Attention to the proposi- 
tion for the Exchange of Prisoners, to the several Letters I have 

33 The draft is in the writing of Tench Tilghman. 

34 Joshua Loring, commissary of prisoners, British Army. 

35 The draft is in the writing of Tench Tilghman. 


lately written on that Subject, and to inform you that I have not 
received such Officers in Exchange, as were requested by me. 

I am persuaded, Sir, that this mistake has arisen from Mr. Com- 
missary Loring's Zeal to facilitate the Business; but I would at 
the same time desire, that you would give him Orders, when- 
ever any of your Officers are sent in by me, not to send others 
in Exchange, 'till he is furnished with a List from me, of such 
as I would chuse to prefer, which shall always be done, as 
soon as possible. For, as the Prisoners seldom pass my Head 
Quarters on their Way, it is not in my power to transmit 
such Lists by them, without occasioning their delay. If this 
Mode is not complied with in future, I shall be under the dis- 
agreeable necessity of stopping others from going in, as my 
Ideas and Expectations are by no Means answered from what 
has happened. 

I inclose you a List of 7. Officers, who were sent in from 
Bristol on the 14th. and of two Officers and two privates who 
accompany the present Flag. As the remainder of all those 
who were in the State of Pennsylvania, are on the Road and 
expected here daily, I shall defer making a demand of those 
I would chuse in Exchange, 'till the whole come up. I am, etc. 38 


Head Quarters, December 17, 1776. 
Dear Sir: Yesterday I received a letter from the Council of 
the State of Massachusetts by Major Shaw, 37 informing me he 
had in charge a few Indians from N. Scotia who were inlisted 
into the Continental Service; as they will be of no use to me 
here I have directed Mr. Shaw to deliver them into your Care, 
and request you will employ them in such a manner as you 
may judge most advantageous to the Service, and continue 

* 8 The draft is in the writing of Tench Tilghman. 
Mai. Samuel(?) Shaw. 


them under your command till you hear farther from me. 
I am, etc. 

P. S. These Indians may join those that come before that one 
Interpreter may serve; and the Waggon and Horses which at- 
tended them and bought at the Public expence may be applied 
to the Public use. 38 [ ms. h. s. ] 


Ten Miles above the Falls of the Delaware, 

December 17, 1776. 39 


Head Quarters, Bucks County, December 18, 1776. 
Dear Sir: By a Letter just received from the State of Massa- 
chusetts (Copy of which you have enclosed), I find that they 
had ordered 6000 Militia to be immediately raised, and ap- 
pointed the place of rendezvous at Danbury in Connecticut, 
where they are to meet Genl. Lincoln who is to take the Com- 
mand. You will perceive from the Tenor of the Letter, that the 
Appearance of the Men of War and Transports off the coast of 
New England, did not seem to alter their Intention of sending 
the Militia forward, but I am inclined to think if the descent 
should really be made, they will find employ for them nearer 
home. If this considerable Reinforcement should arrive with 
you, I dont know how you could better employ them, or render 
more essential Service to the cause, than (after keeping a Suffi- 
cient Force to guard the passes of the Highlands,) by throwing 
such a Number over into Jersey, as would cover the upper parts 

In the writing of Tench Tilghman; the postscript is in that of Washington. 
39 See Washington's letter to Lund Washington, Dec. 10, 1776, ante. 


of that province, and afford such support and Assistance to the 
well affected, as would encourage them to join you and keep 
the Enemy within streighter Bounds, than they at present are. 
You may depend, that the great end they have in view, is, to 
spread themselves over as much Country, as they possibly can, 
and thereby strike a damp into the Spirits of the people, which 
will effectually put a stop to the new inlistment of the Army, 
on which all our hopes depend, and which they will most vig- 
orously strive to effect. To carry this plan into Execution, they 
have already extended themselves as far Westward as the Dela- 
ware, and if the whole of your Army continue on the East side 
of Hudson's River, they will have possession of all the Coun- 
try between that River and the Delaware, which includes the 
whole province of Jersey and part of New York. As soon as 
you find yourself in a Situation to send a Force into the upper 
parts of Jersey, I would have you immediately communicate 
your Intentions to the people, with assurances that you will be 
ready to back and support them in any movements which they 
may make in your favor. I am certain that the defection of the 
people in the lower part of Jersey, has been as much owing to 
the want of an Army to look the Enemy in the Face, as to any 
other cause, tho' to be sure neither cost or pains has been spared 
to influence them against us. 

Whatever Steps you take in this affair, I would wish you to 
consult and Co-operate with Genl. Lincoln, of whose Judg- 
ment and Abilities I entertain a very high Opinion. I would 
just add, that your attention should likewise be paid, to the 
Country between Peek's Kill and Kingsbridge, by affording 
some protection and countenance to them, you may draw sup- 
plies, and perhaps some Men for the New Army, particular 
attention should be paid to the Bridge at Crotons River, which 


secures your Front. I inclose you a Letter for Genl. Lincoln 
which please to forward to him where ever he may be. I am &c. 40 


Head Quarters, Bucks County, December 18, 1776. 
Dear Sir: By a Letter which I had this day the pleasure of 
receiving from the president of the Council of Massachusetts 
Bay, I find that that State and immediately upon my Applica- 
tion, ordered a Reinforcement of about 6000 Militia to the Con- 
tinental Army, and that they had appointed you to the com- 
mand. Give me leave Sir, to assure you, that this Appointment 
gives me the highest Satisfaction, as the proofs you exhibited 
of your Zeal for the Service, in the preceeding part of this 
Campaign, convinces me, that the command could not have 
devolved upon a more deserving Officer. If the particular Cir- 
cumstances of the Eastern Governments (who are threatened 
with an Invasion themselves) should permit your proceeding 
on, you will join Genl. Heath at Peeks Kill, with all Expedi- 
tion. I have given him directions how to dispose of your Men, 
which is to endeavour if possible to cover and afford protection 
to the upper parts of the Jerseys, and to the province of New 
York, below the Highlands. But I have desired him to consult 
and Cooperate with you in the Steps necessary to carry this, or 
any other plan into Execution. I am &c. 40 


Head Quarters at Keith's, December 18, 1776. 
Sir: I this Morning received the Honor of your favor of the 
8th current, and beg leave to return your Honble. Council, my 

40 The draft is in the writing of Tench Tilghman. 


warmest acknowledgements for their early attention to my req- 
uisition, and assurances of support, such as shall be in their 
Power. Circumstances have varied much since I addressed you 
upon this subject, and being far removed myself from the ren- 
dezvous intended for this Reinforcement, when it was applied 
for; I have wrote to Major General Heath, to concert a Plan 
with Major General Lincoln and to form with him, such dis- 
positions of the Troops as they may judge necessary and the 
exigencies of affairs require. Their arrival, I hope will be in 
due time and be attended with many important and happy 
consequences. Were it not for them, in a few days, by reason 
of the impolicy and fatal system of short inlistments, there 
would not be the least shadow of an Army, to check the opera- 
tions of the Enemy. 

I should be happy if there had been just grounds for the re- 
port of the Success of our Arms at Hackensack; but Matters 
have been intirely the reverse. By the expiration of the Service 
of the Troops, denominated flying Camp Men, on the ist Inst, 
and their return Home; our force on this side Hudsons River 
(which before that period was not competent to successful op- 
position) was reduced to a mere handful. With this small 
Number, without deriving the least aid from the Militia, not- 
withstanding the earliest and most pressing Applications, I 
have been pushed thro' Jersey, by the Main Body of the Enemy's 
Army; and for want of their Assistance, a large part of that 
state has been exposed to all the effects of Ravage, and of the 
most wanton Plunder. The Delaware now divides what re- 
mains of our little force, from that of Genl Howe; whose ob- 
ject, beyond all question, is to possess Philadelphia; they have 
been industrious in their efforts to procure Boats, for their trans- 
portation; but the precautions I have taken have hitherto ren- 
dered their attempts unsuccessful. How things will terminate, 


The Events I must leave to itself. As yet, I have received but 
little or no augmentation, except that of the City Militia, who 
have turned out in a spirited manner. Convinced that Phila- 
delphia was the object of Mr Howe's movements and of the 
fatal Consequences that would attend the loss of it, I wrote for 
Genl. Lee to reinforce me, with the Troops under his immedi- 
ate Command. By some means or other, their Arrival has been 
retarded and unhappily on friday last, the Genl., having left his 
Division and proceeded three or four Miles nearer the Enemy, 
then 18. Miles from him; of which they were informed by some 
Tories, was surprised and carried off about n O'Clock, by a 
party of 70 Light Horse; I will not comment upon this unhappy 
accident; I feel much for his Misfortune and am sensible that in 
his Captivity, our Country has lost a Warm friend and an able 
officer, upon the whole our affairs are in a Much less promis- 
ing condition than could be wished; Yet I trust, under the 
Smiles of Providence and by our own exertions, we shall be 
happy. Our cause is righteous, and must be Supported. Every 
nerve should be strained, to Levy the New Army. If we can 
but procure a respectable one in Season, All may be well, and 
to this end no pains can be too great. The next Campaign will 
be of importance and the Issue may lead to happiness or the 
most melancholly of all events. I have the honor to be &c. 41 


Camp, near the Falls of Trenton, December 18, 1776. 
Dear Brother: In the number of Letters I write, the recol- 
lection of any particular one is destroyed, but I think my last 
to you was by Colo. Woodford from Hackensack. Since that 
period and a little before, our Affairs have taken an adverse 

"The draft is in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 


turn but not more than was to be expected from the unfortu- 
nate Measures, which had been adopted for the establishment 
of our Army. 

The Retreat of the Enemys Army from the White Plains led 
me to think that they would turn their thoughts to the Jerseys, 
if no further, and induced me to cross the North River with 
some of the Troops, in order if possible to oppose them. I ex- 
pected to have met at least 5000 Men of the Flying Camp and 
Militia; instead of which I found less than one half and no dis- 
position in the Inhabitants to afford the least aid. This being 
perfectly well known to the Enemy, they threw over a large 
body of Troops, which pushed us from place to place till we 
were obliged to cross the Delaware with less than 3000 Men fit 
for duty owing to the dissolution of our force by short Inlist- 
ments; the Enemy's numbers, from the best Accts. exceeding 
Ten and by some 12,000 Men. 

Before I removed to the South Side of the River, I had all the 
Boats, and other Vessels brought over, or destroyed from Phila- 
delphia upwards for 70 Miles, and, by guarding the Fords have 
as yet, baffled all their attempts to cross. But, from some late 
movement of theirs, I am left in doubt whether they are mov- 
ing off for Winter Quarters or making a feint to throw us off 
our guard. 

Since I came on this side, I have been join'd by about 2000 
of the City Militia, and understand that some of the Country 
Militia (from the back Counties,) are on their way; but we are 
in a very disaffected part of the Provence, and between you and 
me, I thin\ our Affairs are in a very bad situation; not so much 
from the apprehension of Genl. Howe's Army, as from the de- 
fection of New Yor\, Jerseys, and Pensylvania. In short, the 
Conduct of the Jerseys has been most Infamous. Instead of 
turning out to defend their Country and affording aid to our 


Army, they are making their submissions as fast as they can. If 
they the Jerseys had given us any support, we might have made 
a stand at Hackensack and after that at Brunswick, but the 
few Militia that were in Arms, disbanded themselves [or slunk 
off in such a manner upon the appearance of danger as to leave 
us quite unsupported and to make the best shifts we could 
without them] and left the poor remains of our Army to make 
the best we could of it. 

I have no doubt but that General Howe will still make an 
attempt upon Philadelphia this Winter. I see nothing to oppose 
him a fortnight hence, as the time of all the Troops, except 
those of Virginia (reduced almost to nothing,) and Small- 
wood's Regiment of Maryland, (equally as bad) will expire in 
less than that time. In a word my dear Sir, if every nerve is not 
strain d to recruit the New Army with all possible expedition, 
/ thin\ the game is pretty near up, owing, in a great measure, 
to the insidious Arts of the Enemy, and disaffection of the 
Colonies before mentioned, but principally to the accursed 
policy of short Inlistments, and placing too great a dependence 
on the Militia the Evil consequences of which were foretold 15 
Months ago with a spirit almost Prophetick. 

Before this reaches you, you will no doubt have heard of the 
Captivity of Genl. Lee; this is an additional misfortune, and 
the more vexatious, as it was by his own folly and Imprudence 
(and without a view to answer any good) he was taken, going 
three Miles out of his own Camp [for the sake of a little better 
lodging] and with 20 of the Enemy to lodge, a rascally Tory 
rid in the Night to give notice of it to the Enemy who sent a 
party of light Horse that seized and carried him with every 
mark of triumph and indignity. 

You can form no Idea of the perplexity of my Situation. No 
Man, I believe, ever had a greater choice of difficulties and less 


means to extricate himself from them. However under a full 
persuasion of the justice of our Cause I cannot [but think the 
prospect will brighten, although for a wise purpose it is, at 
present hid under a cloud] entertain an Idea that it will finally 
sink tho' it may remain for some time under a Cloud. 

My love, and sincere regards attend my Sister and the Family 
and Compliments to [our friends at Fairfield] all enquiring 
friends. With every Sentiment of friendship, as well as love, 
I am etc. 42 


Head Quarters, Bucks County, December 19, 1776. 

Gentn. : I am favored with yours of the 17th, inclosing the 
Resolution of your Board, respecting the Militia of Bucks and 
Northampton Counties; I shall in consequence of it imme- 
diately order the Colonels, to summon their Regiments to at- 
tend upon a Certain day, and I shall treat the defaulters in the 
Manner pointed out by the Resolve, unless a good and sufficient 
Cause of Absence is assigned. 

Nothing ever amazed me more, than the Note said to be 
wrote by John Dickenson Esqr. to his Brother the General; 
if he applies to me to Shew him the Contents, I see no reason 
for refusing it, because he may easily be informed by applying 
to the Writer. 43 The Enemy having made no move of any Con- 
sequence, since I wrote to you last, I have only to recommend 

42 According to Doctor Toner, there was, in 1892, a letter of practically this same 
wording in the archives of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. It also is in Wash- 
ington's writing, dated Dec. -18, 1776, and addressed to Samuel Washington, Berkeley 
County, Va. The important variations in the letter sent to Samuel Washington appear 
herewith in brackets. 

"Dickinson had written advising his brother, Brig. Gen. Philemon Dickinson, not 
to accept any Continental money in liquidation of bonds and mortgages and his letter 
had been intercepted. The text is printed in Force's American Archives, Series 5, vol. 
3, 1255; an attested copy is in the Washington Papers under date of December, 1776. 


your Continuing to exert yourselves in Stirring up the Spirits 
of your people, and making every necessary preparation for the 
defence of your City, while the Enemy leaves it in your Power 
to do it without Interruption. I have the Honor to be, etc. 44 


Head Quarters, December 19, 1776. 
Sir: The Honble. the Council of Safety of the State of Penn- 
sylvania having, by a Resolve passed the 17th. day of this 
instt. December, Authorized me to call forth the Militia of the 
County of Bucks, to the Assistance of the Continental Army 
under my Command, I hereby require you, immediately to 
issue Orders to the Captains of your Regiment, to summon the 
Officers and Privates of their Companies to meet on the 28th. 
day of this instant, at the usual place for their joining in Bat- 
talion, with their Arms and Accoutrements in good Order, and 
when so met, march immediately to the City of Philadelphia 
and there put yourself under the Command of Major Genl. 
Putnam. And you are further required to make me an exact 
return of the names and places of abode of such Officers and 
privates, as refuse to appear with their Arms and Accoutre- 
ments, at the time and place appointed, that they may be dealt 
with as the resolve, above refered to, directs. 46 


Camp above Trenton Falls, December 20, 1776. 
Sir: I have waited with much Impatience to know the 
determinations of Congress on the Propositions made some 

44 The draft is in the writing of Tench Tilghman. 

45 County lieutenant of Bucks County, Pa., and also colonel of militia. 

49 The draft is in the writing of George Lewis. This letter was also sent to Cols. 
Joseph Hart, Andrew Kechlein, Arthur Erwin (Ewing), and Joseph Sabitts, of the 
Pennsylvania Militia. 


time in October last for augmenting our Corps of Artillery, 
and establishing a Corps of Engineers; the time is now come, 
when the ist cannot be delayed without the greatest injury to 
the safety of these States, and therefore under the Resolution 
of Congress bearing date the 12th. Instt. at the repeated In- 
stance of Colo. Knox, and by the pressing advice of all the 
General Officers (now here) I have ventured to order three 
Battalions of Artillery to be immediately recruited; this is two 
less than Colo. Knox recommends, as you will see by his Plan 
Inclos'd 47 but then this scheme comprehends all the United 
States whereas some of the States have Corps already estab- 
lished and these three Battalions are indispensibly necessary 
for the operations in this Quarter ( [including] comprehending 
the Northern department). The pay of our Artillerests bearing 
no proportion with that in the English or French Service, the 
Murmering and dissatisfaction thereby occasioned, and the ab- 
solute impossibility, as I am told, of getting them upon the old 
terms, and the unavoidable necessity of obtaining them at all 
events, have Induced me (also by advice) to promise Officers, 
and Men that their pay should be augmented 25 pr. Ct., or that 
their ingagements shall become null and void ; this may appear 
to Congress premature, and unwarrantable; but Sir, if they 
view our Situation in the light it strikes their officers, they will 
be convinced of the Utility of the Measure, and that the Execu- 
tion could not be delayed till after their Meeting at Baltimore; 
In short, the present exigency of our Affairs will not admit of 
delay, either in Council or the Field, for well convinc'd I am, 
that if the Enemy go into Quarters at all, it will be for a short 
Season ; but I rather think the design of Genl.Howe is to possess 
himself of Phila. this winter, if possible (and in truth I do not 
see what is to hinder [prevent] him, as 10 days more will put an 

4T A copy of Knox's plan for establishing a Continental Artillery, magazines, labora- 
tories, etc., is with this letter in the Papers of the Continental Congress. Another copy 
is in the Washington Papers. 


end to the existence of our Army) ; that one great point, is to 
keep us as much harrassed as possible, with a view to injure 
the Recruiting Service, and prevent a Collection of Stores, and 
other necessaries for the next Campaign, I am as clear in as 
I am of my existence; if therefore in the short Interval we have 
to provide, and make these great and arduous preparations, 
every matter that in its nature is self evident, is to be refer'd to 
Congress, at the distance of 130 or 140 Miles, so much time 
must necessarily elapse, as to defeat the end in view. 

It may be said that this is an application for powers that are 
too dangerous to be Intrusted. I can only add, that desperate 
diseases require desperate Remedies; and with truth declare, 
that I have no lust after power but wish with as much fervency 
as any Man upon this wide extended Continent, for an opper- 
tunity of turning the Sword into a plow share. But my feelings 
as an Officer and a Man, have been such as to force me to say 
that no person ever had a greater choice of difficulties to con- 
tend with than I have; it is needless to add that short Inlist- 
ments, and a mistaken dependance upon Militia, have been the 
Origin of all our Misfortunes and the great accumulation of 
our Debt. 

We find Sir, that the Enemy are daily gathering strength 
from the disaffected; this Strength like a Snow ball by rolling, 
will Increase, unless some means can be devised to check, effec- 
tually, the progress of the Enemy's Arms; Militia may, pos- 
sibly, do it for a little while ; but in a little while also, the Militia 
of those States which have been frequently called upon will 
not turn out at all or with so much reluctance and sloth as 
to amount to the same thing. Instance New Jersey! Witness 
Pennsylvania ! Could any thing but the River Delaware have 
sav'd Philadelphia? Can any thing (the exigency of the case 
indeed may justify it), be more destructive to the recruiting 

1776] NEED OF TROOPS 403 

Service than giving 10 Dollars Bounty for Six Weeks Service 
of the Militia; who come in you cannot tell how, go, you can- 
not tell when; and act, you cannot tell where; consume your 
Provisions, exhaust your Stores, and leave you at last in a criti- 
cal moment. These Sir are the Men I am to depend upon Ten 
days hence, — this is the Basis on which your Cause will and 
must for ever depend, till you get a large standing Army, suffi- 
cient of itself to oppose the Enemy. I therefore beg leave to 
give it as my humble opinion that 88 Battalions are by no means 
equal to the opposition you are to make, and that not a Mo- 
ment's time is to be lost in raising a greater number; not less 
in my opinion, and the opinion of my Officers than no; it may 
be urged, that it will be found difficult enough to compleat the 
first Number, this may be true, and yet the Officers of no Bat- 
talions will recruit many more Men than those of 88. In my 
judgment this is not a time to stand upon expence; our funds 
are the only objects of Consideration. The State of New York 
have added one (I wish they had made it two) Battalions to 
their quota. If any good Officers offer to raise Men upon Conti- 
nental pay and establishment in this Quarter, I shall encourage 
them to do so, and Regiment them when they have done it. If 
Congress disapprove of this proceeding, they will please to 
signify it, as I mean it for the best. 

It may be thought that, I am going a good deal out of the 
line of my duty to adopt these Measures, or advise thus freely; 
A Character to loose, an Estate to forfeit, the inestimable Bless- 
ing of liberty at Stake, and a life devoted, must be my excuse. 

I have heard nothing of the light Horse from Virginia, nor 
the Regiment from the Eastern Shore; 48 1 wish to know what 
Troops are to [Act in] furnish the different departments and 
to have those from the Southward (design'd for this place) 

48 The eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay. 


order'd on as fast as they shall be raised, the Routs should be 
pointed out by which they are to March. Assistant Commis- 
saries and Quarter Masters upon the Communication to supply 
their Wants; the first or second Officer of each Battalion to for- 
ward them and the other to come on, receive, and form them at 
their place of destination. Unless this is immediately set about, 
the Campaign, if it should be closed, will be opened in the 
Spring before we have any Men in the Field. Every exertion 
should be used to procure Tents. A Clothier General should be 
appointed without loss of time for Supplying the Army with 
every Article in that way. He should be a Man of Business and 
Abilities. A Commissary of Prisoners must be appointed [to 
attend the Army] ; for want of an Officer of this kind the [busi- 
ness of that department] Exchange of Prisoners has been con- 
ducted in a most shameful [and injurious] Manner. We have 
had them from all Quarters push'd into our Camps at the most 
critical junctures and without the least previous notice. We 
have had them actually travelling through the different States 
in all directions, by certificates from Committees without any 
kind of Controul; and have had Instances of some going into 
the Enemy's Camp without my privity or knowledge, after 
passing in the manner before mentioned. There may be other 
Officers necessary, which [I dont] my recollection at this time 
does not furnish [and which when thought of] but must be pro- 
vided; for this Sir you may rely on, that the Commanding Of- 
ficer under the present establishment is obliged to attend to the 
business of so many different departments as to render it im- 
possible to conduct that of his own with the attention neces- 
sary, than which nothing can be more Injurious. 

In a former Letter, I intimated my opinion of the necessity 
of having a Brigadier for every three Regiments, and a Ma jr. 
Genl. to (at most) every three Brigades. I think no time is to 


be lost in making the Appointments, that the arrangement 
may be consequent; this will not only aid the Recruiting Serv- 
ice but will be the readiest means of forming and disciplining 
the Army afterwards; which, in the short time we have to do 
it, is of amazing consequence. I have labourd ever since I have 
been in the Service to discourage all kinds of local attachments, 
and distinctions of Country, denominating the whole by the 
greater name of American; but I found it impossible to over- 
come prejudices, and under the New Establishment I conceive 
it best to stir up an Emulation in order to do which, would it 
not be better for each State to furnish (tho not appoint) then- 
own Brigadiers; this if known to be part of the Establishment 
might get rid of [prevent] a good deal of contention and jeal- 
ousy, and would, I believe, be the means of promotion going 
forward with more satisfaction and quiet in the higher officers. 
Whilst I am speaking of Promotion, I canot help giving it 
as my opinion that if Congress thinks proper to confirm what 
I have done with respect to the Corps of Artillery, that Colo. 
Knox (at present at the head of that department, but [who] 
without Promotion will resign) ought to be appointed to the 
Command of it with the rank and pay of Brigadier. I have also to 
mention, that for want of some establishment in the department 
of Engineers, agreeable to the plan laid before Congress in Oc- 
tober last Colo. Putnam who was at the head of it, has quitted, 
and taken a Regiment in the State of Massachusetts. I know 
of no other Man tolerably well qualified for the conducting of 
that business. None of the French Gentlemen whom I have 
seen with appointments in that way, appear to me to know 
anything of the Matter. There is one in Philadelphia whom I 
am told is clever, but him I have never seen. I must also once 
more beg leave to mention to Congress the admisability [ex- 
pediency] of letting Promotion go [be] in a Regimental line; 


the want of this, has already driven some of the best Officers 
[that were] in your Army out of the Service; from repeated, 
and strict enquiry I am convinced you can adopt no mode of 
promotion that will be better receivd, or [that will] give more 
general satisfaction, I wish therefore to have it anounced. 

The casting of Cannon is a matter that ought not to be one 
moment delayed, and therefore I shall send Colo. Knox to put 
this in a Train, as also to have travelling Carriages and Shott 
provided, Elaboratories to be established, one at Hartford and 
another in York, Magazines of Provisions should also be laid 
in; these I shall fix with the Commissary, as our great loss last 
year proceeded from a Want of Teams, I shall direct the Quar- 
ter Master Genl. to furnish a certain number to each Regiment 
to answer the common purposes thereof, that the Army may be 
enabled to remove from place to place differently from what we 
have done, or could do, this Campaign. Ammunition Carts, and 
proper Carts for Intrenching Tools should also be provided, 
and I shall direct about them accordingly; above all, a Store of 
Small Arms should be provided or Men will be of little use; 
the Consumption, and waste of these this year has been great; 
Militia, Flying Campmen&ca. coming in without, were obliged 
to be furnished, or become useless; Many of these threw their 
Arms away, some lost them, whilst others deserted and took 
them along. In a word, altho' I used every precaution to pre- 
serve them, the loss has been great, and this will forever be the 
case in such a Mixed and irregular Army as ours has been. 

If no part of the Troops already Imbark'd at New York, have 
appeard in Virginia their destination, doubtless, must be to some 
other Quarter, and that State must,I should think, be freed from 
any Invasion, if Genl. Howe can be effectually opposed in this. 
I therefore Inclose a Memorandum given me by Brigr. Stephen 
of Virginia, which Congress will please to adopt in whole, 


in part, or reject, as may be consistent with their Plans, and 

That division of the Army, late under the command of Genl. 
Lee, now Genl. Sullivan, is just upon the point of joining us; 
a strange kind of fatality has attended it! they had Orders on 
the 17th of Novr. to join, now more than a Month ! Genl. Gates 
with four Eastern Regiments are also near at hand; three others 
from those States were coming on by his order by the way of 
Peakskill,and had joined Genl. Heath, whom I had ordered on 
with Parsons's Brigade to join me, leaving Clintons Brigade 
and some Militia (that were at Forts Montgomery and Con- 
stitution) to guard those important passes of the Highlands; 
but the Convention of the State of New York seeming to be 
much alarmd at Heath's coming away, a fleet appearing off 
New London, and some part of the Enemy's Troops retiring 
towards Brunswick, induced me to countermand the Order for 
the march of Parsons's Brigade, and to direct the three Regi- 
ments from Tyconderoga to Halt at Morris Town, in Jersey; 
where I understand about 800 Militia had collected, in order to 
inspirit the Inhabitants and as far as possible cover that part of 
the Country; I shall send Genl. Maxwell this day to take the 
Command of them, and if to be done, to harrass and annoy 
the Enemy in their Quarters and cut off their Convoys. 

The care and vigilance which was used in securing the Boats 
on this River has hitherto baffled every attempt of the Enemy 
to Cross, but from concurring reports, and appearances they 
are waiting for Ice to afford them a passage. 

Since writing the foregoing I have receiv'd a Letter from 
Govr. Cooke of Rhode Island of which the Inclosed is a Copy, 49 

19 Governor Cooke had written (December 8) that 78 British ships of war and trans- 
ports had entered the harbor of Newport on December 7; that Rhode Island had been 
evacuated with the loss of about 20 heavy cannon, but the ammunition and stores had 
been saved; that 8,000 of the enemy had landed and were marching upon Newport, 


previous to this, and immediately upon the first Intelligence 
obtain'd of a Fleets going, through the Sound, I dispatch'd 
orders to Genls. Spencer and Arnold to proceed immediately 
[without the least] delay to the Eastward. The first I presume 
is gone, the latter not getting my Letter till he came to a place 
called Easton was, by advice of Genl. Gates who also met my 
Letter at the same place, induced to come on hither before he 
proceeded to the Eastward. Most of our Brigadiers are laid up, 
not one has come on with the division under Genl. Sullivan but 
[are] left sick at different places on the Road. By Accts. from 
the Eastward, a large body of Men had assembled in Rhode 
Island from the States of Massachusetts and Connecticut; I 
presume (but I have no advice of it) that the Militia ordered 
from the first, to Rendezvous at Danbury (6000 in number) 
under the Command of Major Genl Lincoln for the purpose 
of supplying the Places of the disbanded Men of that State in 
the Continental Army will now be ordered to Rhode Island. 
In speaking of Genl Lincoln I should not do him justice were 
I not to add that he is a Gentleman well worthy of Notice in 
the Military Line. He Commanded the Militia from Massa- 
chusetts last Summer, or Fall Rather, and much to my satisfac- 
tion, having prov'd himself on all occasions an active, spirited, 
sensible Man. I do not know whether it is his wish to remain 
in the Military Line, or whether, if he should, any thing under 
the Rank he now holds in the State he comes from, would sat- 
isfy him; how far an appointment of this kind might offend 
the Continental Brigadiers I cannot undertake to say; many 
there are, over whom he ought not to be placed, but I know 
of no way to discriminate. Brigadier Read of New Hampshire 
[does] not I presume mean to continue in Service, he ought 

Howland's and Bristol Ferry. Cooke called for reinforcements from Massachusetts 
and Connecticut. This letter is printed in Force's American Archives, Fifth Series, 
vol. 3, 1315. 


not, as I am told by the Severity of the small Pox he is become 
both blind and deaf. I am &c. 

P. S. Genls. Gates and Sullivan have this Instant come in, by 
them I learn, that few or no Men are recruited out of the Regi- 
ments coming on with them; and that, there is very little rea- 
son to expect that these Regiments will be prevaild upon to 
continue after their term of Service expires. If Militia then do 
not come in the consequences are but too evident. 50 


Head Quarters in Bucks County, December 20, 1776. 
Sir: It being represented to me that the Millers, either from 
an unwillingness to part with their Flour, or the difficulty of 
obtaining Wheat from the Farmers, do not Imploy their Mills, 
by which means the Army under my Command is like to suffer 
for want of Bread. I do hereby Authorize and Instruct you to 
enquire into the State of this matter; with full powers if it 
should be found that the default is in the Miller, to Sieze the 
Mill and grain, and Imploy it for the use of the Public; and 
if it arises from any defect in the Farmer, to take his Grain for 
the Public Service, in either case paying the full Value of such 
Flour, or Wheat at the Mill where it is Manufactured. 


Head Quarters, Bucks County, December 21, 1776. 

Sir : I am honored with your favors of the 7th and 12th of this 

Instant ; The first chiefly relates to your Wishes, that the Troops 

of the State of Connecticut, whose time expires on the first of 

January, may, by intreaties and Promises of Reward, be induced 

50 The draft is in the writing of Washington; the letter sent is in that of Robert 
Hanson Harrison, which shows a few minor verbal variations from the draft. The 
words bracketed are Harrison's changes of Washington's draft. 


to stay beyond their term. Past experience has repeatedly con- 
vinced us, that Troops, at the most favorable Season of the year 
and well supplied with every Necessary, cannot be prevailed 
upon to stay a day longer than what they engaged for; if that 
has been the case, under the Circumstances I have mentioned, 
it cannot be expected, that Men worn out with a fatiguing Cam- 
paign and in want of even necessary Cloathing, at the most 
inclement Season of the Year, will or can stay beyond their 
Engagement. Indeed, except they would inlist anew, or con- 
sent to stay a considerable time, I think they had better go home 
as fast as possible; for thereby, they will have time to have re- 
freshed themselves, and when they have forgot their Fatigue, 
they will probably inlist again, time enough to take the field 
in the Spring. 

I have felt for our unhappy prisoners, all that you express in 
yours of the 12th, and I have done all in my power to alleviate 
their distresses. Colo Miles procured a Supply of 8,000. Dollars 
from Congress to be laid out in Necessaries for them, which 
I hope would afford them some relief in that respect; but 
whether Genl. Howe can accomodate them better in point of 
Room, I will not determine. To be sure he cannot safely trust 
them abroad in a Country which he has but just taken posses- 
sion of. I have already sent in, all or most of the Prisoners that 
were in the States of Pennsylvania, Jersey and Maryland, and 
made a demand of such Officers in Exchange, as I thought were 
best intitled to a preference, begining with those taken at Quebec 
under Generals Montgomery and Arnold. But General Howe, 
without paying any regard to my requests, sent out such as best 
pleased him or who made the most urgent Application. I have 
remonstrated Sharply upon this Head, and told General Howe 
in Express Terms, that unless he will agree to send out such 
only as I name, I will not send any more of his Prisoners in; 
But to this Letter I have reed no Answer. 

1776] NEED OF TROOPS 411 

However, that we may loose no time in getting a total ex- 
change carried into Execution, I would recommend it to you to 
send all those in your State, immediately to the Commanding 
Officer of the British Troops at Rhode Island; taking Lists of 
the Names Corps and Ranks of the Officers and Number of the 
Privates, which lists must be Certified and Signed by the eldest 
prisoner Officer and sent in by him. One of these Lists to be 
immediately after transmitted to me, that I may make a de- 
mand of an equal Number, and a Line should be wrote by you, 
or some person deputed by you, to Genl. Howe, desiring him 
not to send any of our people out in Exchange for them till I 
make a Requisition. 

When I reflect, upon what our Situation in this Quarter will 
be, in ten days from this time; I am almost led to despair. As 
I said before, I cannot count upon those Troops whose time is 
to expire upon the first of January. I am then left with a few 
Southern Regiments, almost reduced to Nothing by Sickness 
and Fatigue, to oppose the Main Body of General Howe's 
Army, laying close upon my front, and most assuredly waiting 
for the dissolution of our Army, to make as easy a Conquest of 
the province of Pennsylvania, as they have done of Jersey. I do 
not find the Militia of Pennsylvania inclined to give me as 
much Assistance, as they are able to do, were they willing; tho' 
I am endeavouring to bring them out by every Means, and am 
making use of both Threats and persuasions to gain my End. 
I shall draw the New inlisted Troops together as fast as they 
can be collected, armed and accoutred, but much cannot be ex- 
pected from that Source for some time. If the four Regiments 
of Militia from your State and the Six Thousand Men ordered 
in by the State of Massachusetts, should arrive at Peekskill, 
General Heath will have a much larger Body of Men than he 
will have any occasion for at that Place, and I had determined 
that, they should cover the upper parts of Jersey, but under my 


present Difficulties, I shall order as many as can be spared, to 
proceed thus far. The Necessity of the times must plead my 
excuse for calling Men so far from home, and at this Season of 
the year, who have an Enemy just landed upon their own Coasts, 
and have not even a Continental Regiment to Assist them; but 
I trust they will undertake this Chearfully, when they reflect, 
that they cannot ensure that Liberty which they have so nobly 
contended for, while our Common Enemy Maintains any foot- 
ing upon any part of this Continent. I have the honor to be &c. 51 


Camp above Trenton Falls, December 21, 1776. 
Sir: I have been Honored with your favor of the 8th Inst. 
The loss of Rhode Island gives me much concern, tho' an Event 
that could not be well guarded against. I am happy, that most 
of the Stock had been removed, and wish the Cannon could 
have also been brought away, our want of them being great by 
reason of our late losses. Notwithstanding this descent, and the 
Intelligence of more Ships going down the Sound; I cannot 
persuade myself, that the Enemy will attempt any thing Capital 
upon the Main, they will most probably confine themselves to 
the Island; But if they have other views, I trust that the Suc- 
cours from the two Neighbouring States, with your own force, 
will be able to baffle their most vigorous Efforts and prevent the 
progress of their Arms. It would give me infinite pleasure, if 
the situation of our Affairs in this Quarter would allow me to 
afford you the Assistance I could wish, but it will not. All in 
my power to do, I have done. Upon the first intelligence, that 
a fleet was going down the Sound with Troops on Board, I 
wrote to Genls. Spencer and Arnold to repair to the Eastward 
and to pursue such measures as Circumstances should seem to 

"The draft is in the writing of Tench Tilghman. 


require. My Letter to General Arnold did not get to hand, 
owing to the uncertainty of his route till he had almost reached 
this. He sets out to morrow Morning and I doubt not these two 
Gentlemen will render you many essential Services. In respect 
to the other aid, I cannot give you. The Delaware now divides 
our Small force from Genl Howe's Army, a large part of which 
is cantoned in the Neighbouring Towns, which from appear- 
ances and many concurring reports, is only waiting an Oppor- 
tunity to pass. As soon as the Ice is formed, they will try to 
effect it; Genl. Howe's object, beyond all question is to possess 
Philadelphia and I could heartily wish, their was not too much 
grounds for some disagreeable apprehensions on that Head. 
Without more Vigorous exertions on the part of the people, 
than what have appeared of late, I see but little to prevent him 
from accomplishing his purposes. In the course of a few days, 
the last of this Month, the force I now have by no means equal 
to his, will by the impolicy and fatal system of short inlistments 
be reduced to a mere handful; Unless the Militia can be pre- 
vailed on to give their Aid. As yet but very few, those of the 
City excepted, have got in Motion, notwithstanding the most 
pressing solicitations and apparent intentions of the Enemy, 
to invade their State and seize their Capitol. How things will 
turn out the event must determine, at present the prospect is 
gloomy. I have the honor to be &c. 


Camp above Trenton Falls, December 21, 1776. 

* # # * #52 

The distresses of our Prisoners in the hands of the Enemy 
gives me much Concern; their Sufferings by all accounts are 

B2 The omitted portion of this letter is exactly the same as the entire letter to Gov- 
ernor Trumbull, Dec. 21, 1776, q. v. 


extremely great. Ever since a Cartel was settled between Genl. 
Howe and myself, I have been endeavouring to effect an Ex- 
change, as far as circumstances would admit of ; but my attempts 
on this head have not been attended with but little Success. 
For those of their Prisoners, who were in the States of Jersey, 
Pennsylvania and Maryland and who have been sent in; Genl. 
Howe or rather his Commissary, has undertaken of his mere 
motion and contrary to my express requisition, to return a 
Number belonging to us, who were not called for and whose 
releasement, should have been postponed till after that of many 
others. I have wrote to Genl. Howe upon the Subject and pre- 
sume in future, that none will be sent out but those who are 
named by me. That this Business may not remain an object 
of further delay, I would take the Liberty of recommending, 
that all the Prisoners in your State be immediately sent in to 
the Commanding officer of the British Troops at Rhode Island 
taking two exact lists of the names, Corps and Ranks of the 
Officers and the Number of Privates, signed by the officer of 
the highest rank; One to be sent in with him, accompanied by 
a line to Genl. Howe that the particular Prisoners belonging 
to us and to be received in exchange, will be required by me. 
The other List you will transmit me immediately, that I may 
make the requisition. I have the honor to be &c. 53 


Head Quarters in Bucks County, December 21, 1776. 
Sir: Having countermanded the March of the three Eastern 
Regiments under the Command of Lieutt. Colo. Vose, and 

u3 This letter as printed in Force's American Archives has this additional paragraph: 
"It may be objected that the enemy's force, already formidable, should not be aug- 
mented; but the sufferings of our unfortunate people call for the exchange. The cartel 
has been agreed on and I am satisfied the [British] prisoners, when released and in 
arms against us, will not do us half the damage they would were they to continue. 
The influence of those who have gone from hence has been attended with the most in- 
jurious and pernicious effects." The draft is in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 

1776] MILITIA 415 

directed them to Halt at Morris Town in the Jerseys where I 
am informed that Colo. Ford, 54 at the head of a body of Militia 
has taken Post. 

You are to repair immediately to that place and take upon 
you the Command, not only of the above Regiments, but of 
the Militia also, and therewith to give all the protection you 
can to the Country, and distress to the Enemy by harrassing 
of them in their Quarters, and cutting of their Convoys. 

You are to be extreamely vigilant and watchful to guard 
against surprizes, and to use every means in your power to ob- 
tain a knowledge of the Enemy's Numbers, Situation, and 
designs. If at any time you should discover that they are mov- 
ing from Brunswick and that Quarter towards Trenton, or the 
Delaware in other parts, endeavour, if it can be attempted with 
a probability of success, to fall upon their Rear, and if nothing 
more can be done, annoy them in their March. 

Every piece of Intelligence which you may think of Impor- 
tance for me to know, communicate it without loss of time. 

Keep up the Spirits of the Militia, as much as possible; and 
use your Influence with the Eastern Regiments to continue in 
Service, after the term for which they stand ingaged, expires; 
if in this you should fail, still keep the Militia together, and 
render what service you can with them; prevent all you can 
from joining the Enemy, and receiving protections from them, 
which, from experience, have been found to afford no relief 
from the rapacious, plundering, ravishing Soldier. 

Give every Incouragement and aid to the Recruiting Serv- 
ice; let all those who are ingaged in that business above the 
Road leading from Trenton to Brunswick make your head 
Quarters their place of Rendezvous; and that Men may be 
raised as soon as possible besides the Officers appointed by the 

Precisely the same letter, but without the preceding paragraph, was sent to the New 
Hampshire Legislature. 

M Col. Jacob Ford, jr., of the New Jersey Militia. He died Jan. 10, 1777. 


State of New Jersey for the Established Regiments, if you can 
meet with active, sprightly men, who you think could raise 
Companies, and are fit to Command them afterwards, you 
may authorize them to Ingage Men upon the same terms, and 
for the same time, the Continental Regiments are raised; but 
then I cannot agree to take them into pay, or be at any expence 
till they have got at least Fifty privates besides Non-commis- 
sioned Officers Inlisted, when this happens, and a certificate of 
it produced to me from you, the bounty shall be drawn, and the 
pay of Officers and Men commence. 

To encourage the Captains in this business they shall have 
the nominating of their own Subalterns, subject however to 
my negative, if I find they have made an improper choice from 
local attachments and connexions, rather than public good; 
they will be allowed a Dollar and one third for every Recruit, 
for whom Certificates are obtained. 

Fix with the Commissary and Quarter Master upon the 
Modes of supplying your Troops with Provisions and Neces- 
saries before you go. 


Head Quarters, Bucks County, December 21, 1776. 
Sir: Lay in Provisions for Twenty thousand Men, at the fol- 
lowing Places, and in the following quantities. 

At York Four Months 

At Lancaster Two Ditto 

At Mill Town Ten days. 

Besides the Provisions at these places, which are to be con- 
sidered as Magazines, you should have some deposited on the 
Roads leading from Lancaster to Winchester in Virginia, and 
from the Head of the Bay to Alexandria in the same State, for 


the accomodation of the Troops in their March from the South- 
ern Colonies. 

You should also so far look round you, as to know that there 
are, in the vicinity of Philadelphia and in the City itself Provi- 
sions enough to serve ten thousand Men at least Six Weeks but 
there will be no occasion as yet for large purchases, or large 
deposits in this Quarter. 


Headquarters, at Keith's, December 21, 1776. 

Dear Sir : I have been favored with yours of the 13th Instant 
and wish you may have succeeded in your intended Scheme to 
dislodge the Enemy from Hackinsack Bridge. 

In my letter of the 18th I transmitted you a Copy of a Letter 
from the council of the Massachusetts Bay, advising that 6000 
Men were coming from that State, under General Lincoln, to 
supply the place of the Militia which had returned Home, and 
of their Troops, whose time of Service will soon expire. At the 
time of writing, I thought it probable that their Reinforcement 
might be ordered to the State of Rhode Island, in case of an 
Invasion, and which I find has actually taken place; and there- 
fore did not so strenuously urge that it should be sent here. In- 
deed, I had then hopes, from the Information I had received, 
that a large proportion of the Eastern Troops who were march- 
ing to join Me had reenlisted; but to my great Distress and 
Mortification, I find the report to have been without the least 
foundation, and that in the course of a few days I am to be left 
with a handf ull of Men. I therefore request, that if these troops 
have come on to Peeks Kill, and also the four Battallions which 
I am advised by Govr. Trumbull have been raised in Connecti- 
cut to serve till the 15th of March next, that, after securing the 


passes and Fortifications in the Highlands, with a Sufficient 
number (which I should imagine need not exceed 12 or 15 
Hundred Men at farthest,) besides the forces which I appre- 
hend will be provided for the purpose by the Convention of 
New York you will forward on all the rest with the utmost 
Expedition to join such Troops as I may be able to collect for 
the defence of Philadelphia. That City is now the object of the 
Enemy's Designs. Let me entreat you to impress the Officers 
and Men with a due Sence of its Importance in the present con- 
test for our Liberty, and that without their speedy and early 
arrival it may be lost. I am perswaded these considerations will 
be duly regarded and urge them on to every possible exertion. 
As yet, but few succours belonging to this State have come in, 
nor do I hear that many are in motion, when they hear that 
other States are applied to, and pushing in Aids for their de- 
fence, perhaps they will arrouse from that lethargy which now 
keeps them back against the most pressing calls of Interest. In 
a word, Sir, my Situation, and that of our Cause, is critical, and 
truly alarming. Without vigorous exertions and early Succours 
I do not see what reasonable hope there will be to preserve Phila- 
delphia from falling into the Enemy's hands, they will attempt 
to possess it as soon as the Delaware is so frozen as to admit 
of their passage; Appearances and many concurring reports 
agree in this. 

I have received yours of the 15th, and am happy to hear 
of your success at Hackinsack, the Stores you got will be of 
great Service. 

By a letter just received from General McDougall, I find he 
has been much indisposed, and is now at Morristown. I intend 
to write him to return to Peeks Kill to conduct matters in that 
department with General George Clinton requesting you and 


General James Clinton to come on with the Eastern Troops 
which I have mentioned, if they have arrived at Peeks Kill, and 
it should be necessary for him to come. I am, etc. 55 


Head Quarters, Bucks County, December 21, 1776. 

Dear Sir : I am this Evening favoured with yours of the 19th, 
from Chatham. I not only approve of the Disposition you 
made of the three Regiments under Colo. Vose, because I think 
it was a very judicious one, but I had previous to the Receipt of 
your Letter, determined upon exactly the same plan, and had 
sent orders to Colo. Vose, to halt at Morris Town, that he 
might afford protection to the well affected in that Neighbour- 
hood and give Spirits to the Militia. If you find your Health 
such that you cannot take an active part where you are, or stay 
there, without further prejudice to it, I would have you return 
to Peeks Kill, and there, in conjunction with Genl. Geo. Clin- 
ton, take charge of that Department, as I have ordered Genl. 
Heath to join me with as many of the Connecticut and Massa- 
chusetts Militia as can be spared. 

I think with you, that tho' your State of Health may require 
a Resignation, that this is not a proper time to make it. Our 
Enemies would probably attribute it to the late unfavourable 
Aspect of our affairs, and therefore I would advise you to try, 
whether a little rest might not contribute to the Cure of a dis- 
order, which is generally brought on by Colds and Fatigue. 
I am &c. 56 

^The draft is in the writing of Samuel Blatchley Webb. The letter sent, in the 
writing of Robert Hanson Harrison, is in the archives of the Massachusetts Historical 
Society. Force, in his American Archives, prints this letter as of December 22. 

50 The draft is in the writing of Tench Tilghman. 



Camp above the Falls, at Trenton, December 22, 1776. 

Dear Sir: Your favour of yesterday 57 came duely to hand, 
and I thank you for the several agreeable articles of Intelli- 
gence therein contain'd. for godsake hurry Mr. Mease 58 with 
the Cloathing as nothing will contribute more to facilitate the 
recruiting Service than warm and comfortable Cloathing to 
those who engage. Muskets are not wanted at this place, nor 
should they, or any other valuable Stores (in my judgment) be 
kept in Philadelphia, for sorry I am to inform you, my dear Sir, 
that unless the Militia repair to the City for defence of it, I see 
no Earthly prospect of saving of it after the last of this Instant; 
as that fatal vote of Congress respecting the appointment of 
new Officers 59 has put the Recruiting business upon such a foot- 
ing, and introduced so much confusion into the old Regiments, 
that I see no chance of raising Men out of them; by the first of 
next Month then, we shall be left with five Regiments of Vir- 
ginia, one of Maryland, Genl. Hands and the remains of Miles ; 
Reduced so much by Sickness, fatigue &ca. as in the whole not 
to exceed, but fall short of, 1200 Men. Upon these and the 
Militia, is all our dependance, for you may as well attempt to 
stop the Winds from blowing, or the Sun in its diurnal, as the 
Regiments from going when their term is expired. 

I think with you Sir (that however missed you may be in 
Congress) your presence in the City cannot be dispensed with, 60 

"Morris's letter, dated Dec. 21, 1776, is in the Washington Papers. It shows that 
856 blankets were forwarded to the army. 

58 James Mease, Clothier General of the Continental Army. 

59 The resolve of Sept. 16, 1776, by which the appointment of all officers (except 
general officers) and the filling up of vacancies was left to the States. (See Journals 
of the Continental Congress.) 

60 Morris was staying on in Philadelphia: "The unfinished business of the Marine and 
Secret Committees, I intended to confine myself to, but I hear so many complaints 
and see so much confusion from other quarters that I am obliged to advise in 
things not committed to me. Circumstanced as our affairs now are I conceive it better 
to take Liberty's and assume some powers than to let the general interest suffer." 


I will give you the earliest information in my power of imme- 
diate danger; in the meantime, I advise for the reasons before 
mention'd that you detain no Papers you can possibly do with- 
out, for I am satisfied the Enemy wait for two events only to 
begin their operations upon Philadelphia. Ice for a Passage, 
and the dissolution of the poor remains of our debilitated Army. 

Genl. Sullivan is just come up with the Troops under Genl. 
Lee, about 2000 Men. Genl. Gates is here, and a small division 
under him of about 600 expected to-day; this with about four 
or five and twenty hundred at most, herebefore, composes 
the strength of my Army (the City Militia excepted) but this 
under the rose. 

Alas poor Lee ! taken by his own Imprudence ! We have no 
distinct accts. of him, if any should arrive, Mr. Tilghman or 
I, will communicate them to you. Insults accompanied the tak- 
ing of him, since that I have heard that he was treated well by 
Lord Cornwallis to whom he was first Carried. 

The Commissary (Mr. Wharton) informs me that, he can- 
not prevail on the Millers to grind; and that the Troops in 
consequence, are like to suffer for want of Flour; this if I under- 
stand him proceeds either from disaffection, or an unwilling- 
ness to take Continental Money in pay, which in fact is the 
same thing, this must be remedied by fair, or other means. 
With sincere regard etc. [ h. l. ] 


Head Quarters, Buck County, December 22, 1776. 
Gentn. : I am honored with yours of the 18th and 20th. I am of 
opinion with you, that the Ships which made their appearance 

(See Morris's letter to Hancock, Dec. 16, 1776, in Burnett's Letters of Members of 
the Continental Congress, vol. 2, p. 176.) 

On December 21 Congress (in Baltimore) appointed Robert Morris, George Cly- 
mer, and George Walton a committee to remain in Philadelphia and transact all 
necessary business. They notified Congress (December 28) that they had opened an 
office for business. 


in Delaware Bay, never intended to come up; unless to cre- 
ate a diversion below, and thereby draw your attention from 
the upper part of the River. But I hope the Weather will soon 
rid you of all apprehensions of an attack by Water, for a time 
to come. 

Your Collection of old Cloathes for the use of the Army, de- 
serves my warmest thanks; they are of the greatest use and 
shall be distributed where they are most wanted. I think if the 
Committee or some proper persons were appointed to go thro' 
the County of Bucks and make a Collection of Blankets &c, 
in the manner you have done in Philadelphia, it would be bet- 
ter than doing it in a Military Way by me; for many people, 
who would be willing to contribute or sell, if asked so to do by 
their Neighbours or Acquaintances, feel themselves hurt when 
the demand is made, backed by an Armed force. But I would 
at the same time remark, that if any, who can spare without 
inconvenience, refuse to do it, I would immediately give proper 
Assistance to take from them. 

I have not a Musket to furnish the Militia who are without 
Arms ; this demand upon me makes it necessary to remind you, 
that it will be needless for those to come down who have no 
Arms, except they will consent to work upon the Fortifications 
instead of taking their Tour of Military Duty; if they will do 
that, they may be most usefully employed. I would recom- 
mend to you to call in as many Men as can be got, for the 
express purpose of Working for we shall most undoubtedly 
have occasion for every Man who can procure or bear a Mus- 
ket. In less than ten Days from this time, my Army will be 
reduced to a few Virginia and one Maryland Regiment, Colo. 
Hand's and the Regiments lately under Colo. Miles, all very 
thin; The Enemy are most assuredly waiting for that Crisis, 
and except I am strongly reinforced by Militia, nothing can 


hinder them from reaching Philadelphia: I would therefore 
intreat you, to Collect every Man you possibly can, Send peo- 
ple out to contradict the reports that are circulated, that we 
have more Men than we want; from which, many perhaps 
that would turn out, if they thought there was a real necessity, 
remain at home. 

I have ordered the Militia of this County to meet on the 28th 
and March to Philadelphia, that of Northampton as soon as 
possible and have directed the Colonels to make me a Return 
of those who refuse to appear. 

It is necessary that, as the Militia come in, they should make 
a Return of their Numbers to Genl. Putnam; be kind enough 
to inform the Officers of this, and direct them to do it. Colo. 
Biddle 01 has given directions to Major Mifflin 62 to discharge all 
the Waggons not wanted for the removal of Stores, as we have 
a Sufficiency for the Army here. I am &c. 63 


Head Quarters, Bucks County, December 22, 1776. 
Sir : The Council of Safety for this State, have by their Resolve 
of the 17th. Instt. impowred me, to call out the Militia of the 
County of Northampton, to the Assistance of the Continental 
Army under my Command; that by our joint endeavours, we 
may put a stop to the Progress of the Enemy, who are making 
preparations to advance to Philadelphia, as soon as they can 
Cross the Delaware either by Boats or upon the Ice. As I am 

01 Lieut. Col. Clement Biddle. He was deputy quartermaster general of the Flying 
Camp; Commissary General of Forage of the Continental Army from July, 1777, to 
June, 1780; colonel and quartermaster general of Pennsylvania from September, 
1 78 1, to the close of the war. 

62 Jonathan Mifflin, brigade major of Mifflin's brigade. He was paymaster of the Fifth 
Pennsylvania Regiment; Deputy Quartermaster General from June, 1777, to 1781. 

83 The draft is in the writing of Tench Tilghman. The letter sent, also in Tilgh- 
man's writing, is in the archives of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

64 Chairman of the Northampton County, Pa., committee of safety at Easton. 


unacquainted with the Names of the Colonels of your Militia, 
I have taken the Liberty to inclose you Six Letters, in which you 
will please to insert the Names of the proper Officers and send 
them immediately to them, by persons in whom you can con- 
fide for the Delivery. If there are not as many Colonels as Let- 
ters you may destroy those that are not wanted. I most earnestly 
intreat you Sir, and the rest of the Gentleman of your Com- 
mittee, to exert your influence among the people of the County 
and endeavour to make them turn out generally, in defence of 
their Capital; which will most assuredly fall a Sacrafice, unless 
the Militia of the Province contribute largely to its defence. 
Those who are so far lost to a love of their Country, as to refuse 
to lend a hand to its support, at this critical time, may depend 
upon being treated, as their baseness and want of Public Spirit, 
will most justly deserve. I am, etc. 

P. S. please to make me a return of the Names of the differ- 
ent Colonels. 65 


Head Quarters in Bucks County, December 22, 1776. 
The Honble. the Council of Safety of the State of Pennsyl- 
vania having, by a Resolve passed the 17th day of this Instant 
December, authorized me to call forth the Militia of Northamp- 
ton County to aid and assist the Continental Army under my 
Command, I hereby require you immediately to order the 
Captains of your Battalion, to issue orders to the Officers and 
privates of their respective Companies to meet and join in Bat- 
talion, with their Arms and Accoutrements in good Order, at 
such time and place as you shall judge most convenient for that 

"The draft is in the writing of Tench Tilghman. 


purpose. Taking care, that it may be as soon as you think such 
orders can reasonably and conveniently be conveyed to the 
people. And when your Battalion or any part of them, are so 
met, you are immediately to march to the City of Philadelphia, 
and there put yourself under the Command of Major General 
Putnam, or whoever the Commanding Officer may be; And 
I further require you, to make me an exact Return of the Names 
and places of abode of such Officers and privates, as refuse so to 
meet and march to Philadelphia, that they may be dealt with 
as the Resolve above referred to directs. 66 


Camp above Trenton falls, December 22, 1776. 
Gentn: The accounts received from New York respecting 
the distresses of our prisoners, induce me to recommend to your 
Honble. body, that measures should be taken to effect an Ex- 
change as soon as possible and as far as circumstances will 
admit of. Ever since the Cartel has been settled between Genl. 
Howe and myself, I have been endeavouring to accomplish it; 
but my attempts have not [sic] been attended with but little 
success. For the prisoners belonging to the British Army and 
who have been sent from Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, 
Genl. Howe or rather his Commissary has undertaken of his 
mere motion and contrary to my express requisition to return 
a number belonging to us, who were not called for, and whose 
releasement should have been postponed till after that of Others. 
I have wrote to Genl. Howe upon the Subject and presume in 
future, that none will be sent out, but those who are named by me. 
That this business may not remain an object of further delay, I 
would advise, that all the prisoners in your State be immediately 

68 The draft is in the writing of Tench Tilghman. 


sent to the commanding officer of the British Troops on the 
Island of Rhode Island, taking Two exact Lists of the names, 
Corps and Ranks of the Officers and the number of privates, 
signed by the Officer of the Highest rank; One to be sent with 
him accompanied by a Line to Genl. Howe, that the particular 
prisoners belonging to us and to be received in exchange, will 
be required by me. To which and I must request that the other 
acct. be immediately transmitted to me, that the requisition 
may be made. I have the honor to be, etc. 67 [n.h.h.s.] 


Camp above the Falls of Trenton, December 22, 1776. 68 
Sir: When I wrote to you on the 14th instant, I had little 
doubt of receiving considerable support from the Militia of this 

67 In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 

,8 On December 22 Reed wrote to Washington from Bristol, Pa., that Griffin had ad- 
vanced as far as Mount Holly, N. J., with 600 men and that the main body of troops 
from Bristol would cross the river December 23 and cooperate with Griffin in an 
attempt on the British post between Bristol and the Black Horse. 

"We are all of Opinion my dear General that something must be attempted to 
revive our expiring Credit give our Cause some degree of Reputation and prevent a 
total Depreciation of the Continental Money which is coming on very fast. That even 
a Failure cannot be more fatal than to remain in our present Situation in short some 
Enterprize must be undertaken in our present Circumstances or we must give up 
the Cause. . . . Will it not be possible My dear Genl. for your Troops or such Part 
of them as can Act with Advantage to make a Diversion or something more at or 
about Trenton. The greater the Alarm the more likely Success will attend the 
Attacks. If we could possess ourselves again of New Jersey or any considerable Part 
of it the Effect would be greater than if we had never left it. Allow me to hope that 
you will consult your own good Judgment and Spirit and not let the Goodness of your 
Heart subject you to the Influence of Opinions from Men in every Respect your Infe- 
riors. Something must be attempted before the 60 Days expires which the Commis- 
sioners have allowed; for however many affect to despise it, it is very evident that 
a very serious Attention is paid to it and I am confident that unless some more 
favourable Appearance attends our Arms and Cause before that Time a very great 
Number of the Militia Officers here will follow the Example of those of Jersey and 
take Benefit from it. I will not disguise my own Sentiments that our Cause is des- 
perate and hopeless if we do not take the Oppy. of the Collection of Troops at present 
to strike some Stroke. Our Affairs are hastng. fast to Ruin if we do not retrieve them 
by some happy Event. Delay with us is now equal to a total Defeat. 

"Be not deceived my dear General with small flattering Appearances, we must 
not suffer ourselves to be lull'd into Security and Inaction because the Enemy does not 
Cross the River. It is but a Reprieve, the Execution is the more certain for I am very 

1776] NEED OF MILITIA 427 

State, and was taught to believe, that a large part of the old 
Troops (coming on with General Lee) had reinlisted: In the 
first, I have every reason in the world to fear a disappointment; 
in the latter, I find myself woefully deceived. It is easier there- 
fore to conceive, than describe, the situation I am in, left or shall 
be, in a very few days, with only a very few Southern Regiments 
(reduced almost to Nothing) to oppose Howe's Main Army, 
already posted in such a manner as to pour in his whole Force 
upon us, so soon as the frost affords him a passage over the Del- 
aware, and our numbers such, as to give no effectual opposition. 

clear that they can and will cross the River in spite of any Opposition we can give 
them. Pardon the Freedom I have used, the Love of my Country, A Wife and 4 Chil- 
dren in the Enemys Hands, the Respect and Attachment I have to you, the Ruin and 
Poverty that must attend me and thousands of others will plead my Excuse for so 
much Freedom." 

This nervously written letter from the Adjutant General is in the Washington 
Papers and should be read with that of Reed's to Lee of November 21. (See note 69, 
p. 300.) Reed's family, according to William B. Reed, in his Life and Correspondence 
of Joseph Reed (vol. 1, p. 273, note), was at Evesham, which was not then in the 
possession of the British. Stryker's Battles of Trenton and Princeton (Boston: 1898), 
Ch. VI, describes the evidences that Washington's intent to move against the British 
took shape as early as December 14. Reed appears to have spent his time on Decem- 
ber 25 in Philadelphia and galloping to Bristol, Pa., on that afternoon. He was not 
present at the attack on Trenton. 

Griffin had moved across the Delaware with a part of the Flying Camp and gath- 
ered some New Jersey Militia at Mount Holly. His presence stirred up the British to 
a watchfulness that nearly defeated Washington's attack on Trenton. 

The letter from Washington to Col. Joseph Reed, or John Cadwalader, dated Dec. 
23, 1776, is deliberately omitted because of its doubtful authenticity. It is too evi- 
dently compiled from the various authentic letters to Griffin, Cadwalader, Reed, and 
Putnam of December 23, 24, and 25 for the purpose of connecting Reed as closely 
as possible with the Battle of Trenton. Sparks printed it from Wilkinson's Memoirs 
with the note that " it bears the mark of being genuine." Ford copied from Sparks. 
In Gordon's History of American Revolution (London: 1788), vol. 2, p. 391, is an 
extract of what purports to be a Washington letter of this period (no exact date is 
given) regarding the strength of the Army: "For Heaven sake keep this to yourself, 
as the discovery of it may prove fatal to us," but does not note this as being sent either 
to Reed or Cadwalader. Gordon also quotes, " necessity, dire necessity will, nay must 
justify any attempt etc.," but does not agree with the wording of the rest of the para- 
graph of the December 23 -letter as printed by Sparks. William B. Reed printed the 
letter in his 1852 publication on the Sparks-Mahon controversy with the statement: 
" the original being in my possession, having been recovered since the publication of 
Mr. Sparks's work." Facsimiles of this alleged original are in Smith and Watson's 
American Historical and Literary Curiosities (Philadelphia: 1847, and later editions), 
but they are more convincing of forgery than substantiating originality. The present 
whereabouts of the alleged original is undivulged. 


Thus Circumstanced, it is a matter of concern to me, that in 
my last, I directed you to take back any of the Militia designed 
for the support of the Army under my Command, and have to 
request, that, instead of ordering the return of any of those that 
were destined for this Department (by order of their respective 
States) that you will hasten them on with all possible expedition, 
as I see no other chance of saving Philadelphia, and preventing 
a fatal blow to America, in the loss of a City from whence so 
much of our Resources are drawn. 

With respect to yourself, you will proceed agreeable to the 
directions in my former; It is not possible for me, at this dis- 
tance to lay down any particular Rule for your conduct, Cir- 
cumstances and the advice of your Officers must Govern you, 
particularly that of General Arnold, who comes on to your 
assistance. I am &c. 

P. S. Let me hear from you frequently. 69 


Head Quarters, December 23, 1776. 

Dr. Sir: I shall not object to your going to Philadelphia on 
Acct. of your Health, but wish it would have permitted you to 
have gone to Bristol rather, in order to have conducted matters 
there in cooperation with what I hinted to you as having in 
view here. 

I fear their may be some little uneasiness about Command 
there, as some of the Continental Colonels have gone down 
with the Brigade that Marchd last. If you could only stay there 
two or three days to concert with Colonels Read and Cadwala- 
der a Plan, and direct in what manner it is to be conducted 
I should be glad of it. lam, etc. [n.y.h.s.] 

89 The draft is in the writing of Samuel Blatchley Webb. 



Head Quarters, December 24, 1776. 

Sir : Fix with Colo. Griffin on our Points of Attack. 70 In this, 
as circumstances must govern, I shall not interfere; but let the 
hour of attack be the 26th., and one hour before day (of that 

I have wrote to Colo. Hitchcock to join his Brigade to yours 
and co-operate therewith. If you should be successful (of which 
I have the highest hopes) move forward if possible, so as to form 
a junction with me, if the like good fortune should attend our 
Enterprize, either at Trenton or Princeton. 

Let your Men be provided with Blankets and three days 
Provisions ready Cooked. Most ardently wishing you Success 
lam, etc. [h.s.p.] 


Camp above Trenton Falls, December 24, 1776. 
Dear Sir: The unfortunate mode adopted by Congress for 
the appointment of Officers under the New Establishment, has 
been big with every Evil; and among others with the most 
shameful delays; In short, so much confusion and uncertainty 
attend, the appointments, for want of an arrangement of the 
Officers, that I do not see whether we are like ever to recover 
from it; this has determin'd me in the present exigency of our 
Affairs, to encourage, by every means in my power, to raising 
of Men for Continental Service, and as your Camp may be a 
proper place to set a Work of this sort on foot, I wish you would 
select such persons as you shall judge fit to Command Com- 
panies in the first place, and likely to raise them in the next, and 

'"Against the British near the Black Horse. 


promise them in my Name, that if they can raise Companies 
upon the Continental terms, and establishment, or even if they 
can Ingage Fifty privates, I will immediately, upon a certificate 
thereof from you, take both Officers and Men into pay, allow 
the Officers the Dollar and third for every man they enlist, 71 
and the Men their Bounty of twenty Dollars &ca. 

You will observe, I do not mean to take either Officers or 
Men into pay, till at least fifty are engaged to a Company and a 
Certificate obtaind of it; because as I intend these in aid of the 
88 Battalions voted by Congress, I cannot consent to burthen 
the Continent with the expence of an additional number of 
Officers unless they are accompanied with Men; these compa- 
nies are to be raised upon the same terms, and for the same 
time of the other Battalions, and will, as they are raised, be 
Regimented. As an Incouragement to the Captains, they may 
nominate their own Subalterns; but then, I will reserve the 
right of Negativing them in case I find their choice falls 
upon improper persons from local attachments, rather than 
the public good. If you can set Eight Companies of this kind 
on foot, and will facilitate the recruiting of them, I think I 
can undertake to engage you the Regiment, and a principal 
share in the nomination of the Field Officers. In this Work 
you are to recollect, that, no Officers already appointed in the 
New establishment are to be withdrawn from it, least Con- 
fusion should be introduced 72 thereby, and that my wish and 
desire is, that these Companies may be raised as far as possible 
in the Jerseys. At present I shall only add that I am with great 
esteem, etc. 73 

"Washington wrote "for recruiting" and Harrison changed it to "for every man 
they enlist." 

"Washington wrote "is introduced"; Harrison changed it as above. 

73 The letter sent is in Robert Hanson Harrison's writing and is in the archives of 
the New York Historical Society. 

1776] NEED OF TROOPS 431 




Head Quarters, Bucks County, December 24, 1776. 
Dear Sir: The necessity of collecting a body of Troops, to 
supply the place of those, whose term of inlistment expires on 
the first of next month, obliges me to press you to march for- 
ward, with as much Expedition as possible, to this place, or 
wherever my head Quarters may be, with such part of the 
Troops under your Command, as may be judged expedient, 
and agreeable to the order I have already lodged with Generals 
Heath and Spencer. I am &c. 74 


Camp above Trenton Falls, December 24, 1776. 
Sir: That I should dwell upon the Subject of our distresses 
cannot be more disagreeable to Congress, than it is painful to 
my self. The alarming Situation to which our affairs are re- 
duced, impells me to the Measure. Inquiry and investigation, 
which in most cases serve to devellop and point out a remedy, 
in ours, present more and greater difficulties, till of late I was 
led to hope from reports, that no inconsiderable part of the 
[Eastern] Troops, composing the Regiments that were with 
Genl. Lee, and those from Ticonderoga under General Gates, 
had enlisted again. This intelligence, I confess, gave me reason to 
expect that I should have at the expiration of the present year, a 
force somewhat more respectable than what I find will be the 
case, having examined into the State of those Regiments, I am 

"The draft is in the writing of William Grayson. 


authorized to say from the information of their Officers, that 
but very few of their Men have inlisted. Those who have, are 
of the Troops from Ticonderoga and were permitted to visit 
their friends and Homes, as part of the Terms on which they 
would reengage. In respect to those who Marched with Genl. 
Lee, I cannot learn that any have. Their refusal I am told, has 
not proceeded more from an aversion to the Service or any fixed 
determination not to engage again, than from their wishes to re- 
turn Home; the nonappointment of Officers in some instances, 
the turning out of good and putting in of bad in others, and the 
in-compleat or rather no arrangement of them; A work unhap- 
pily committed to the Management of their States; Nor have 
I the most distant prospect of retaining them a moment longer 
than the last of this Instant, notwithstanding the most pressing 
solicitations and the obvious necessity for it. By the departure 
of these Regiments, I shall be left with Twelve from Virginia, 
Smallwoods from Maryland, a small part of Rawlins's, Hand's 
from Pennsylvania, a part of Ward's from Connecticut and the 
German Battalion, amounting in the whole at this time from 
Fourteen to Fifteen hundred effective Men. This handfull, 
and such Militia as may choose to join me, will then compose 
our Army. 75 

When I reflect upon these things, they fill me with much 
concern, knowing that General Howe has a Number of Troops 
cantoned in the Towns bordering on and near the Delaware, 
his intentions to pass as soon as the ice is Sufficiently formed, to 

75 The general return of the Army (December 22) shows a total of rank and file fit 
for duty of 4,707; but with sick, present, and absent, 3,270, on command and fur- 
lough, 3,039, the force fit for duty should be 3,797; the officers and noncommissioned 
officers brings the total to 3,966. Sparks points out that this return did not include the 
four regiments just arrived from the northern army, nor Lee's division now com- 
manded by Sullivan, nor the Pennsylvania Militia under General Cadwalader at Bris- 
tol, Pa. The four regiments, having been greatly reduced by disease, amounted to 
about 1,200, Cadwalader's militia to 1,800, and Sullivan's division to about 3,000. 
This return is printed in Force's American Archives, Fifth Series, vol. 3, 1401. 


invade Pennsylvania, and to possess himself of [the City of] 
Philadelphia, if Possible. To guard against his designs, and the 
execution of them; shall employ my every exertion, but how is 
this to be done ? As yet, but few Militia have gone to Philadel- 
phia; and they are to be our Support at this alarming crisis. 
Had I entertained a doubt of General Howes intentions to pass 
the Delaware [up] on the dissolution of our Army and as soon 
as the ice is made, it would be now done away. An intercepted 
letter from a Gentleman of Philadelphia who has joined the 
Enemy, to his Friend and Partner in the City, declares that to 
be their design, that the Army would be there, in Ten or Twenty 
days from the 16th. Instt. the time of his writing, if the ice 
should be made, advises him by no means to remove their Stores 
that they would be safe. 

The obstacles which have arisen to the raising of the New 
Army, from the mode of appointing the Officers, induce me 
to hope, if Congress resolve on an additional number of Bat- 
talions to those already voted, that they will devise some other 
rule by which the Officers, especially the Field Officers, should 
be appointed. In case an augmentation should be made to the 
Eastern Regiments, a deviation from the former mode, will 
operate more strongly as to them, than to other Battalions; Be- 
cause there have been many more Officers in service from those 
States, than the Regiments voted to be raised would admit of, 
by which means several deserving Men could not have been 
provided for, had the utmost pains been used for the purpose, 
and many others of great merit have been neglected in the late 
appointments and those of little worth and less experience, put 
in their places, or promoted over their Heads. This has been 
the case with many of the best Officers. 

The inclosed Letter from the Paymaster General, will shew 
the state of the Military Chest and the necessity of a large and 


immediate supply of Cash. The advances to the Officers for 
bounty and the recruiting service are great, besides the Regi- 
ments, at the expiration of this Month, will require payment of 
their claims. At the same time it will shew the justice of the 
clamours, made by some [of the] Officers respecting their pay, 
and the abuses they have practiced [that have resulted from an 
attention to them]. 76 Whenever they have not been paid, it was 
because their Abstracts were not made up. I am &c. 

PS If the public papers have been removed from Philadel- 
phia, I hope those which I sent by Lieut. Colo Reed before 
we left New York, have not been forgot. (If they have not, 
I beg the favor of you to break open the Chest and send me 
the Several Letter Books sealed up, having frequent occasion 
to refer to 'em.) 77 


December 24, 1776. 

Brothers of Passamaquody : I am glad to hear by Major Shaw, 
that you accepted of the chain of friendship which I sent you 
last February from Cambridge, and that you are determined 
to keep it bright and unbroken. 

When I first heard that you refused to send any of your war- 
riours to my assistance, when called upon by our brothers of 
St. John's, I did not know what to think; I was afraid that some 
enemy had turned your hearts against me. But I am since 
informed that all your young men were employed in hunting, 
which was the reason for their not coming. This has made my 
mind easy, and I hope you will always in future join with your 
brothers of St. John's and Penobscot, when required. 

76 The words in brackets are in the draft but not in the letter sent. 
"Both the draft and letter sent are in the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. The 
words in parentheses in the P. S. are in the letter sent but not in the draft. 


I have desired my brother, the Governor of Massachusetts- 
Bay, to pay you the money which Captain Smith promised you 
for sending my letters to the Mickmac Indians. 

Brothers: I have a piece of news to tell you, which I hope you 
will attend to. Our enemy, the King of Great Britain, endeav- 
oured to stir up all the Indians from Canada to South-Carolina 
against us. But our brethren of the Six Nations, and their allies 
the Shawanese and Delawares, would not hearken to the advice 
of the messengers sent among them, but kept fast hold of our 
ancient covenant chain. The Cherokees and Southern tribes 
were foolish enough to listen to them, and to take up the 
hatchet against us; upon which our warriours went into their 
country, burnt their houses, destroyed their corn, and obliged 
them to sue for peace, and give hostages for their future good 

Now, brothers, never let the King's wicked counsellors turn 
your hearts against me and your brethren of this country, but 
bear in mind what I told you last February, and what I tell 
you now. 

In token of my friendship I send you this from my Army on 
the banks of the great river Delaware. 78 


On the banks of the great river Delaware, 

December 24, 1776. 
Brothers of the St. John's Tribe: It gave me great pleasure to 
hear from Major Shaw, that you kept the chain of friendship, 
which I sent you from Cambridge in February last, bright and 

I am glad to hear that you have made a treaty of peace with 
your brothers and neighbours of the Massachusetts-Bay, who 

78 The text is from Force's American Archives. No copy is found in the Washington 
Papers. (See Washington's message to the St. John's Indians, Dec. 24, 1776, post.) 


have, agreeable to your desire, established a truck house at 
St. John's, out of which they will furnish you with every thing 
you want, and take your furs in return. 

My good friends and brothers, Governour Pierre Temna and 
the warriours that came with him, 79 shall be taken good care of, 
and when they want to return home, they and our brothers of 
Penobscot shall be furnished with every thing necessary for 
their journey. * * * 80 


Head Quarters, December 25, 1776. 

Dear Sir: I have your obliging favors of the 21st. 81 and 23d. 
the Blankets are come to hand, but I would not have any of the 
other Goods sent on, till you hear again from me. 

I agree with you, that it is in vain to ruminate upon, or even 
reflect upon the Authors or Causes of our present Misfortunes, 
we should rather exert ourselves, and look forward with Hopes, 
that some lucky Chance may yet turn up in our Favour. Bad 
as our prospects are, I should not have the least doubt of Success 
in the End, did not the late Treachery and defection of those 
who stood foremost in the Opposition, while Fortune smiled 
upon us, make me fearful that many more will follow their 
Example, who by using their Influence with some, and work- 
ing upon the Fears of others, may extend the Circle so as to take 
in whole Towns, Counties, nay Provinces. Of this we have a 

79 Chief Pierre Temna was accompanied by 12 other Indians. Maj. Samuel Shaw 
brought them to camp with a letter from the Massachusetts Council, dated Novem- 
ber 26. This letter is in the Washington Papers. 

80 The text is from Force's American Archives. The omitted portion is practically 
the same as the last half of Washington's letter to the Passamaquoddy Chiefs, Dec. 24, 
1776, q. v. No copy is found in the Washington Papers. 

"Congress had adjourned to Baltimore (December 12) on the near approach of the 
British, and Robert Morris had written (December 21) that he was the only Delegate 
left in Philadelphia, 


recent Instance in Jersey, and I wish many parts of Pennsyl- 
vania may not be ready to receive the Yoke. 

The Security of the Continental Ships of War in Delaware is 
certainly a capital Object, and yet to draft, the many hands nec- 
essary to fit them out, from the Militia, might be dangerous just 
now, perhaps in a little time hence, their places may be supplied 
with Country Militia, and then if the exigency of Affairs re- 
quires it, they certainly ought to be spared. 

I will just hint to you a proposition that was made or rather 
talked of a few days ago by the Officers of two New England 
Regiments whose time of Service will expire on the first of Jan- 
uary, They are most of them Watermen, and they said their Men 
would willingly go on Board the Frigates and navigate them 
round to any of the ports in New England, if it was thought 
they would be safer there than in Delaware. You may think of 
this, and let me hear from you on the Subject, if the proposition 
pleases you. Lieutenant Boger of the Navy is already gone in 
and I have made a demand of Lieutenant Josiah 82 in Exchange, 
but I have not heard whether Lord Howe accedes to it. I will 
procure the Release of Doer. Hodge 83 as soon as it can be done 
without injuring others by giving him the preference, as I have 
always made it a rule to demand those first who have been long- 
est in Captivity. I will take the same Steps in regard to Mr. 
Jones, commander of the Ship taken by the Andrew Doria. 

I shall take the earliest Opportunity of sending in your Letter 
to Genl. Lee with the Bill drawn upon Major Small. 

From an intercepted Letter from a person in the Secrets of 
the Enemy, I find their Intentions are to cross Delaware as soon 
as the Ice is sufficiently strong. I mention this that you may take 

82 Lieut. James Josiah, of the United States Navy. 

83 Dr. Hugh Hodge, surgeon of the Third Pennsylvania Regiment. He had been 
taken prisoner at Fort Washington, N. Y., on November 1 6. 


the necessary Steps for the Security of such public and private 
property as ought not to fall into their hands, should they make 
themselves Masters of Philada. of which they do not seem to 
entertain the least doubt. 

I hope the next Christmas will prove happier than the pres- 
ent to you and to Dear Sir, etc. 

P. S. I would just ask whether you think Christeen a safe 
Place for our Stores ? do not you think they would be safer at 
Lancaster or somewhere inland. 84 


Head Quarters, December 25, 1776. 

Sir: I have your's of Yesterday and have no doubt of your 
doing every thing in your power to promote the Enterprize 
which I wish you may do as far as you see consistent with 

If nothing more is adviseable a Diversion may facilitate the 
attempt above. The Dover Militia you may keep to assist you. 
Genl. Putnam will have Instructions how to dispose of the rest, 
I wish Colo. Reed may see Colo. Griffin before his men are 
Dispers'd. Should any Occurrence of Moment happen, you'll 
please advise me of it immediately. I am, etc. 85 [h.s.p.] 


Camp above Trenton Falls, December 25, 1776. 86 
Dear Sir: I am glad to hear by your Son, that you are getting 
better again. If I had not been well convinced before of the 

84 In the writing of Tench Tilghman. 

85 In the writing of John Fitzgerald. 

se Stryker, in his Battles of Trenton and Princeton (p. 113), states that early on 
Christmas morning Washington issued the following orders for the march on Tren- 
ton. He does not state his source: 

" Each brigade to be furnished with two good guides. General Stephen's brigade to 
form the advance party, and to have with them a detachment of the artillery without 
cannon, provided with spikes and hammers to spike up the enemies' cannon in case 


Enemy's Intention of possessing themselves of Philadelphia, so 
soon as the frost will form Ice hard enough to transport them, 
and their Artillery across the Delaware, I have an intercepted 
Letter which puts the matter beyond a doubt. 

If therefore the Citizens of Philadelphia have any regard for 
the Town, not a moments time is to be lost in putting it in the 
best posture of defence possible; but least this should not be 
done, I would have the public Stores of every kind that can be, re- 
moved, except such as may be necessary for immediate use, and 
except Provisions. 

of necessity, or to bring them off it is can be effected, the party to be provided with 
drag-ropes for the purpose of dragging off the cannon. General Stephen is to attack 
and force the enemy's guards and seize such posts as may prevent them from forming 
in the streets, and in case they are annoyed from the houses to set them on fire. The 
brigades of Mercer and Lord Stirling, under the command of Major General Greene, 
to support General Stephen. This is the 2d division or left wing of the army and to 
march by the way of the Pennington road. 

"St. Clair's, Glover's, and Sargent's brigades, under Major General Sullivan, to 
march by the River Road. This is the first division of the army, and to form the 
right wing. Lord Stirling's brigade to form the reserve of the left wing, and General 
St. Clair's brigade the reserve of the right wing. These reserves to form a second line 
in conjunction, or a second line to each division, as circumstances may require. Each 
brigadier to make the colonels acquainted with the posts of their respective regiments 
in the brigade, and the major-generals will inform them of the posts of the bri- 
gades in the line. Four pieces of artillery to march at the head of each column; three 
pieces at the head of the second brigade of each division; and two pieces with each of 
the reserves. The troops to be assembled one mile back of McKonkey's Ferry, and as 
soon as it begins to grow dark the troops to be marched to McKonkey's Ferry, and 
embark on board the boats in following order under the direction of Colonel Knox. 

"General Stephen's brigade, with the detachment of artillerymen, to embark first; 
General Mercer's next; Lord Stirling's next; General Fermoy's next, who will march 
into the rear of the second division and file off from the Pennington to the Princeton 
road in such direction that he can with the greatest ease and safety secure the passes 
between Princeton and Trenton. The guides will be the best judges of this. He is 
to take two pieces of artillery with him. St. Clair's, Glover's, and Sargent's brigades to 
embark in order. Immediately upon their debarkation, the whole to form and march 
in subdivisions from the right. The commanding officers of regiments to observe that 
the divisions be equal and that proper officers be appointed to each. A profound 
silence to be enjoined, and no man to quit his ranks on the pain of death. Each briga- 
dier to appoint flanking parties; the reserve brigades to appoint the rear-guards of the 
columns; the head of the columns to be appointed to arrive at Trenton at five o'clock. 

"Captain Washington and Captain Flahaven, with a party of forty men each, to 
march before the divisions and post themselves on the road about three miles from 
Trenton, and make prisoners of all going in or coming out of town. 

"General Stephen will appoint a guard to form a chain of sentries round the 
landing-place at a sufficient distance from the river to permit the troops to form, this 
guard not to suffer any person to go in or come out, but to detain all persons who 
attempt either. This guard to join their brigade when the troops are all over." 


I think the Stores should go towards Lancaster instead of 
Christeen Bridge, unless they can be water borne (at this time 
to the Bridge) and readily transported from thence into the 
Country; Should not this be the case may they not easily be 
seized at Christeen? I think they may; but this matter should 
be inquired into. 

I am sorry Colo. Griffin has left the Jerseys, some active Officer 
of Influence, ought in my opinion, to repair there to inspirit the 
people, and keep the Militia from disbanding, and if possible 
to encourage them to assemble. 

Let me know the exact State and Strength of the Militia with 
you, that I may know how to govern myself, also of the expec- 
tation you have of more coming in. I am &ca. 

[P. S. If a Party of Militia from Philadelphia could be sent 
over to support the Jersey Militia about Mt. Holly would it not 
serve to prevent them from Submission ? I wish you could get 
Colo. Forman, and endeavour in my name to prevail upon him 
to exert himself in this business. I want to see him Myself much 
on this Acct. Pray send the Letter to Mr. Hancock by Express, 
if the Post does not set out immediately for Baltimore.] 87 


McKonkey's Ferry, 88 Six o'clock P. M., 
December 25, 1776. 
Dear Sir : Notwithstanding the discouraging Accounts I have 
received from Col. Reed of what might be expected from the 
Operations below, I am determined, as the Night is favourable, 

"The draft is in the writing of George Lewis; the P. S., in brackets, is in Wash- 
ington's writing. 

88 Stryker refers to a Johnson's Ferry which he distinguishes as different from Mc- 
Konkey's, though he does not locate the former, which is given on Hessian maps ©f 
the period as John's Ferry. Dr. Carlos E. Godfrey, Director of the Public Record Office 
of New Jersey, calls attention to the interesting fact that the records under his super- 
vision show that McKonkey's and Johnson's Ferries are identical, Samuel McKonkey 
owning the ferry rights on the Pennsylvania bank and Garret Johnson those on the 
New Jersey side. 


to cross the River and make the attack upon Trenton in the 
Morning, If you can do nothing real, at least create as great a 
diversion as possible. I am, etc. 89 


Camp at Newton, December 27, 1776. 
Dear Sir: I this minute received the honor of your favor of 
the 26th. and you may be assured that I shall with great pleasure 
transmit all my dispatches to Congress thro your hands and 
unsealed. The inclosed to them will give you a full account of 
the attack on Trenton and to which I beg leave to refer you. 
I regret much, that the Ice prevented Col. Cadwalader from 
passing, could he have got over with his Troops I am persuaded 
we should have been crowned with much success. The same 
Cause hindred Genl. Ewing, with his aid to have seized the 
bridge leading from Trenton, not a Hessian would have escaped 
from thence. The situation of our Troops and the apprehen- 
sion that the means of obtaing Succour would become more 
difficult, made it necessary that we should return in the Opin- 
ion of the Genl. Officers, with the prisoners we had taken. I am 
in haste, etc. 90 


Head Quarters, Newton, December 27, 1776. 
Sir: I have the pleasure of Congratulating you upon the suc- 
cess of an enterprize which I had formed against a Detachment 

89 From original in possession of Charles E. Cadwalader, of Philadelphia, as printed 
in Stryker's Battles of Trenton and Princeton, p. 132. Reed had been in New Jersey 
a few days before, but Stryker states he was in Philadelphia on Christmas day and 
rode to Bristol, Pa., on the afternoon of December 25. His discouraging report was 
his letter of December 22 to Washington, written from Bristol. It is in the Washing- 
ton Papers and is printed by Stryker and by Sparks in Writings of Washington, 
vol. 4, p. 542. (See extract in note to Washington's letter to Maj. Gen. Joseph Spencer, 
Dec. 22, 1776, ante.) 

90 In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 


of the Enemy lying in Trenton, and which was executed yester- 
day Morning. The Evening of the 25th I ordered the Troops 
intended for this Service [which were about 2400] 91 to parade 
back of McKonkey's Ferry, that they might begin to pass as 
soon as it grew dark, imagining we should be able to throw 
them all over, with the necessary Artillery, by 12 O'Clock, 
and that we might easily arrive at Trenton by five in the 
Morning, the distance being about nine Miles. But the Quan- 
tity of Ice, made that Night, impeded the passage of the Boats 
so much, that it was three O'Clock before the Artillery could 
all get over, and near four, before the Troops took up their 
line of march. 

This made me despair of surprising the Town, as I well knew 
we could not reach it before the day was fairly broke, but 
as I was certain there was no making a Retreat without being 
discovered, and harassed on repassing the River, I determined 
to push on at all Events. I form'd my detachments into two 
divisions one to March by the lower or River Road, the other 
by the upper or Pennington Road. As the Divisions had nearly 
the same distance to March, I ordered each of them, immedi- 
ately upon forcing the out Guards, to push directly into the 
Town, that they might charge the Enemy before they had time 
to form. The upper Division 92 arrived at the Enemys advanced 
post, exactly at Eight O'Clock, and in three Minutes after, 
I found, from the fire on the lower Road that, that Division 
had also got up. The out Guards made but small Opposition, 
tho' for their Numbers, they behaved very well, keeping up a 
constant retreating fire from behind Houses. We presently 
saw their main Body formed, but from their Motions, they 
seemed undetermined how to act. 93 Being hard pressed by our 

"The phrase in brackets is in the draft but not in the letter sent. 
^As first written the draft was "I arrived with the upper division." 
93 The draft here has the following, which was afterwards crossed out: "They first 
moved towards their left, but being briskly charged by Genl. Sullivans division, they 
were drove into the Town again; they thenfiled off to their Right and I suspected were 


Troops, who had already got possession of part of their Artil- 
lery, they attempted to file off by a road on their right leading 
to Princetown,but perceiving their Intention, I threw a body of 
Troops in their Way which immediately checked them. Find- 
ing from our disposition that they were surrounded, and that 
they must inevitably be cut to pieces if they made any further 
Resistance, they agreed to lay down their Arms. The Number, 
that submitted in this manner, was 23 Officers and 886 Men. 
Col Rail, the commanding Officer with seven others were 
found wounded in the Town. I dont exactly know how many 
they had killed, but I fancy not above twenty or thirty, as they 
never made any regular Stand. Our loss is very trifling indeed, 
only two Officers and one or two privates wounded. I find, that 
the Detachment of the Enemy consisted of the three Hessian 
Regiments of Lanspatch, Kniphausen and Rohl 94 amounting 
to about 1500 Men, and a Troop of British Light Horse, but 
immediately upon the begining of the Attack, all those who 
were, not killed or taken, pushed directly down the Road 
towards Bordentown. These would likewise have fallen into 
our hands, could my plan have been compleatly carried into 
Execution. Genl. Ewing was to have crossed before day at 
Trenton Ferry, and taken possession of the Bridge leading out 
of Town, but the Quantity of Ice was so great, that tho' he did 
every thing in his power to effect it, he could not get over. 

This difficulty also hindered General Cadwallader from cross- 
ing, with the Pennsylvania Militia, from Bristol, he got part of 
his Foot over, but finding it impossible to embark his Artillery, 
he was obliged to desist. I am fully confident, that could the 

attempting to gain a Road leading to Princetown, upon which I ordered Colo. Hands 
and the German Battalion to throw themselves before them, this they did with Spirit 
and Rapidity and immediately checked them. I then ordered Lord Stirling to advance 
his brigade upon their other flank which effectually prevented them from regaining 
the Town, finding themselves in this Situation and seeing our other Troops ad- 
vancing upon them from every Quarter they in a very little time agreed to lay down 
their Arms." 

M Anspach, Knyphausen, and Rahl's regiments. 


Troops under Generals Ewing and Cadwallader have passed 
the River, I should have been able, with their Assistance, to 
have driven the Enemy from all their posts below Trenton. 
But the Numbers I had with me, being inferior to theirs below 
me, and a strong Battalion of Light Infantry at Princetown 
above me, I thought it most prudent to return the same Eve- 
ning, with my prisoners and the Artillery we had taken. We 
found no Stores of any Consequence in the Town. In justice 
to the Officers and Men, I must add, that their Behaviour upon 
this Occasion, reflects the highest honor upon them. The diffi- 
culty of passing the River in a very severe Night, and their 
march thro' a violent Storm of Snow and Hail, did not in the 
least abate their Ardour. But when they came to the Charge, 
each seemed to vie with the other in pressing forward, and 
were I to give a preference to any particular Corps, I should 
do great injustice to the others. Colonel Baylor, 95 my first Aid 
de Camp, will have the honor of delivering this to you, and 
from him you may be made acquainted with many other par- 
ticulars; his spirited Behaviour upon every Occasion, requires 
me to recommend him to your particular Notice. I have the 
honor &ca. 

P. S. Inclosed you have a particular List of the Prisoners, 
Artillery and other Stores. 96 


Head Quarters, Newtown, December 27, 1776. 
Dear Sir: Your favor of the 21st instant has come duly to 
hand, in which you have mentioned the receipt of my Letters 

95 Lieut. Col. George Baylor. He took with him a Hessian flag. Congress (Jan. i, 
1777) voted him a horse, properly caparisoned, and recommended him to Washington 
for promotion to the command of a dragoon regiment. He was given command of 
the Third Continental Dragoons Jan. 9, 1777. 

88 In the writing of Tench Tilghman. A return of prisoners, etc., captured, in the 
writing of Tench Tilghman, was inclosed and is filed with Washington's letter in 
the Papers of the Continental Congress. It shows a total of 918 prisoners, 6 brass 


of the 16th and 18th of this month, I now inclose you a dupli- 
cate of the one dated the 21st. least that should have miscarried. 

I have the pleasure of Congratulating you, upon the success 
of an enterprise which I had form'd against a detachment of 
the Enemy, lying in Trenton, * * * 97 I some time ago 
mentioned to you, the importance of attacking the Enemy's 
detached posts when it can be done with a good prospect of 
success, the best of consequences must result from their being 
harrassed on every occasion on that Quarter. 

With respect to the Stores you have taken, you must use your 
own discretion; you can certainly judge with greater propriety 
what is to be done, than I can who am so far distant. I am &c. 

P. S. I must request you will forward the Militia, with all 
possible expedition. The prisoners we have taken amount in 
number to 918. of which thirty are Officers, we have also got 
about one thousand stand of Arms and four Standards and Six 
brass pieces of Artillery. 98 


Head Quarters, Newtown, December 27, 1776. 
Dear Sir: I was just now favoured with your Two letters of 
the 25th. and 26th. Instant and regret much the cause that pre- 
vented your passing the River, had it not been for this acci- 
dent, I am persuaded our plans would have been accomplished 
to our utmost wishes. The same Obstacle hindered Genl.Ewin 
from giving his aid and cooperating in the attack on Trenton, 
could we have had his force to have secured the pass over the 

3-pounders, 3 ammunition wagons, as many muskets, etc., as there were prisoners, 12 
drums, and 4 colors. The draft, also in Tilghman's writing, varies in minor verbal 
particulars from the letter sent. 

97 The omitted portion is a verbatim repetition of the account sent to Congress of 
the Battle of Trenton. 

0S The letter sent, dated Dec. 28, 1776, is in the writing of William Grayson, and is 
in the archives of the Massachusetts Historical Society. The draft is in the writing of 
Caleb Gibbs. 


Bridge; The whole of the Enemy must have fallen into our 
hands; But availing themselves of this circumstance all that 
could, retreated with the greatest precipitation without mak- 
ing the least opposition. Those that remained drew up but in 
such confusion and disorder that they were incapable of mak- 
ing a sucessfull resistance. You have the number of Officers &c 
[taken,] below, the Damage we sustained was very inconsid- 
erable, not more than a private or two killed, one or two 
wounded and Captn. Washington" of the third Virginia Regi- 
ment. I should have most certainly pursued those that retreated 
had it not been for the distressed situation of my Troops (about 
Three or four and twenty hundred in number) who had expe- 
rienced the greatest fatigue in breaking a passage thro the ice 
and all the Severities of rain, and Storm. This with the ap- 
prehension that we could receive no Succours, and that the 
difficulty of passing the River might become greater, led us to 
conclude our return eligible. The Officers and Men who were 
engaged in the Enterprize behaved with great firmness, poise, 
advance and bravery and such as did them the highest honour. 
I shall be extremely ready, and it is my most earnest wish, to 
pursue every means that shall seem probable to distress the Ene- 
my and to promise success on our part. If we could happily beat 
up the rest of their Quarters bordering on and near the River, it 
would be attended with the most valuable consequence. I have 
called a meeting of the General Officers to consult of what 
measures shall be next pursued and would recommend that 
you and Genl. Putnam should defer your intended Operations 
till you hear from me, perhaps it may be judged prudent for 
us to pass here with the force we have if it is practicable or 

"Capt. William Washington. He had been wounded also at Long Island, N. Y.; 
became lieutenant colonel of the Third Continental Dragoons; was wounded again at 
Cowpens, S. C, and again at Eutaw Springs, S. C, where he was captured; remained 
a prisoner on parole until the end of the war. 


if it is not, that I may come down to you and afford every 
assistance in my power. We will try to concert a plan and 
upon such principles as shall appear to promise success. Please 
to give me frequent information of the state of the River and 
whether it is to be passed in Boats or whether the Ice will admit 
of a passage. I am, in haste, etc. [h.s.p.] 


i col. 

8 Lieuts., 

20 Drummers, 

2 Lieut. Colo. 

12 Ensigns, 

9 Musicians, 

3 Majors, 

2 Surgeons 


25 Servants, 

4 Captains, 

92 Sergeants, 

740 Rank and file. 

Total 919. about 

25 or 30 killed. 

6 pieces 

of Brass Artillery from 


1000 Stand Arms 

Sec. 1 


Head Quarters, December 28, 1776. 
Dear Sir: Since I had the pleasure of informing you Yes- 
terday of our success at Trenton, I have received advice that 
Count Donnop with the remainder of the Enemy's Army, im- 
mediately upon the news, decamped, and was on his Retreat 
towards South Amboy; on hearing this, Colo. Cadwallader 
and Genl. Ewing 2 passed the River with the Troops under 
their command, and Genl. Mifflin will follow this day, with a 
considerable Body of Militia from Pennsylvania, from whence 
large Reinforcements are coming in. I purpose to go over my- 
self, with the whole of the Continental Troops as soon as they 
are refreshed and recovered of their late Fatigue. These added 
together, will make our force very respectable. I have wrote to 

1 In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. 

2 The draft gives their force as 1,500, which was crossed out; Ewing's brigade was 
stated to be 600 and Mifflin was to cross with 1,500. These figures were crossed out, 
doubtless from motives of prudence, to guard against the information miscarrying 
to the enemy. 


Genl.McDougall and Genl. Maxwell who are at Morris Town, 
and have desired them to collect as large a Body of Militia as 
they possibly can, and whether the Enemy advance or retreat, 
harrass them on Flank and Rear. If they cannot be brought to 
that, to keep them embodied, till they are joined by our regular 
Troops. Things being in this Situation, I think a fair Opportu- 
nity is offered of driving the Enemy entirely from, or at least 
to, the extremity of the province of Jersey. I would therefore 
have you advance as rapidly as the Season will admit, with the 
Eastern Militia, by the way of Hackensack, and proceed down- 
wards till you hear from me; I dont think there is the least 
danger of the Enemy's making any move towards the High- 
lands at this Season of the Year, that they cannot do it by Water 
is most certain. I am &c. 3 


Head Quarters, Newtown, December 28, 1776. 
Dear Sir: I have yours of the 22d. and am sorry that Affairs 
bore so bad an aspect in your Quarter at that time, but I hope 
that the late success at Trenton on the 26th. and the conse- 
quences of it, will change the Face of Matters not only there 
but every where else. I crossed over to Jersey the Evening of 
the 25th. about 9 Miles above Trenton with upwards of 2000 
Men and attacked three Regiments of Hessians, consisting of 
1500 Men about 8 o'clock next Morning. Our Men pushed 
on with such rapidity, that they soon carried four pieces of 
Cannon out of Six, Surrounded the Enemy, and obliged 30 
Officers and 886 privates to lay down their Arms without firing 
a Shot. Our loss was only two Officers and two or three pri- 
vates wounded. The Enemy had between 20 and 30 killed. We 

3 The draft is in the writing of Tench Tilghman. 

1776] MOVE IN JERSEY 449 

should have made the whole of them prisoners, could Genl. 
Ewing have passed the Delaware at Trenton and got in their 
Rear, but the Ice prevented him. I am informed, that Count 
Donnop with the remainder of the Army below Trenton, de- 
camped immediately upon this News, and is on his March 
towards South Amboy. Generals Mifflin, Ewing and Cadwal- 
lader have already passed over to Jersey with a Capital Force, 
and I shall follow with the Continental Regiments, as soon as 
they have recovered from their late Fatigue, which was indeed 
very great. I hope you Sir, Genl. Maxwell to whom I have 
wrote, Colo. Vose, Colo. Ford and every Gentleman who is 
well affected, will exert Yourselves, in encouraging the Militia, 
and assuring them that nothing is wanting but for them to 
lend a hand, and driving the Enemy from the whole province 
of Jersey, pray watch the motions of the Enemy, and if they 
incline to retreat [or advance] harrass their Rear, and Flanks; 
But at all events endeavour to collect a Body of Men to be ready 
to join me [or act otherwise, as occasion shall require.] 

Your Son was mentioned among the first of our Prisoners 
that I demanded in Exchange; but Genl. Howe (or Mr. Loring 
in his absence) sent out others than those I demanded. I have 
remonstrated to him upon this head, and have assured him 
that I will send in no more prisoners till he sends out the Paroles 
of the Officers taken in Canada. I am, etc. 4 


Head Quarters, December 28, 1776. 
Sir: As I am about to enter the Jerseys with a considerable 
force, immediately for the purpose of attempting a recovery of 
that Country from the Enemy, and as a diversion on your 

4 The draft is in the writing of Tench Tilghman. The words in brackets are in 
Washington's handwriting. 


Quarter may greatly facilitate this event, by distracting and 
dividing their troops; I must request, you will collect all the 
force in your power together, and annoy and distress them, by 
every means which Prudence can suggest. It will be exceed- 
ingly proper, for you to use every Argument to inspirit and 
encourage the Militia, as also to prevail on the troops com- 
manded by Colo. Vose, to continue longer in Service. You may 
assure the Militia, that every effort shall be made to rescue 
their Country from the hands of the Enemy, and that with their 
concurrence I hope and expect to effect it; It may be urged to 
the Eastern Troops with great truth, that if a successful op- 
position is not made to the Enemy in the Jerseys, that their 
Country will not remain long free from the ravages of War. 

I have the pleasure to inform you of the success of an enter- 
prize, which took effect the 26th. Instant at Trenton; On the 
night of the preceding day, I cross'd the Delaware with a de- 
tachment of the Army under my Command, amounting to 
about 2.400; the difficulties arising in the passage of the River, 
prevented my arriving at the Town so soon as I expected, by 
which means the attack did not commence till eight O'clock; 
when our Troops pressed forward with so much Ardor, and 
Spirit, as never to suffer them to form completely, about Seven 
hundred of the enemy ran away in the begining of the action; 
the rest amounting to 1000 including 31 Officers, after making 
a feeble opposition, laid down their Arms and Surrendered 
themselves prisoners of War. We have taken about one thou- 
sand stand of Arms, four Standards and Six pieces of brass 
Artillery, with some other Stores. I have issued some orders 
to day for the encouragement of the Troops, whose terms are 
near expiring, which I shall be glad you will immediately com- 
municate to them, in your Orders. I am &c. 5 

5 The draft is in the writing of William Grayson. There is no copy of these orders 
in the Washington Papers. 



Newtown, December 29, 1776. 

Dear Sir: The inclosed Letter to Congress will shew you my 
intention of passing the River again and the plans I have in